Skip to main content

Full text of "Psychology in Service of the Soul"

See other formats











'Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose 
mind is stayed on Thee.' 




All rights reserved — no part of this book may be reproduced in any 
form without permission in writing from the publishers. 

Set up and printed. Published March, 1930. 






Lecturer in Psychology, London University 
Author of Psychology and Morals 


Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2013 



Foreword by Dr. Eric Waterhouse . . ix 

Foreword by Dr. John Rathbone Oliver xiii 

Preface xv 


f I. Psycho-Religious Healing .... i 

A II. The Meaning and Interpretation of 

Dreams 29 

III. The Value of Auto-Suggestion ... 57 

IV. The Value of Confession 78 

V. The Romance of Unconscious Motives . 98 

VI. The Religious Value of Hypnosis . . 118 

VII. Don't Be Tired To-morrow .... 137 

VIII. The Gospel of the Harnessed Instinct 158 

IX. The Curse and Cure of Impure Thoughts 175 

X. Fear and Funk 186 

XI. The Soul's Urge to Completeness . . 205 




Appendices : 

Note on the Relation of Suggestion to 

Organic Disease 213 

Index 217 


By Rev. Prof. Eric S. Waterhouse, M.A., D.D. (Lond.) 

Tutor in Philosophy at Richmond Theological 
College, London 

It is the lot of a prophet to be persecuted, and of a 
pioneer to be misunderstood. Psychology is one of 
the youngest sciences, and, if one listens to those 
trained in physical science, is not a science at all. 
Those who have, for a generation past, been prophe- 
sying the important part that would be taken by 
psychology in education, religion, and in the study 
of social and industrial conditions, know how often 
their claims were ridiculed and their enthusiasm 
derided as specialist's blindness. They at least have 
the satisfaction of being 'the dreamers whose dream 
came true.' Psychology has made good its claims 
to be a science, even if it has been needful to widen 
the conception of what a science is, in order to 
include psychology. Now, however, psychology has 
come to take a place in the art of healing, and the 
pioneers of that process are also undergoing a bap- 
tism of cooling criticism; indeed, to judge from the 
floods poured forth, a baptism by immersion. Some 
of us who are not directly concerned in this particu- 
lar application of psychology, but who believe none 



the less that it is both necessary and inevitable, feel 
that we ought to see fair play for those who under- 
take the work, and for this reason, as well as for 
my appreciation of Mr. Weatherhead's gifts, I am 
glad to write a few words as a foreword to this 

Psychotherapy, like all new movements, has its 
dangers. The theories of Freud and Jung, and 
others of the psycho-analytic school, are by no means 
all consistent, either with themselves or with each 
other. The partisan is liable to be too readily con- 
vinced that the case before him typifies Freud's 
teaching, while another would diagnose it in terms 
of Jung's or of Adler's theories, according to his 
own partiality. We need those who undertake this 
work to be the friends of all and the adherents of 
none, to be ready to use hypnotism, suggestion, free 
association, word association, or any other method 
of psychotherapy, and to ignore the fact that some 
schools hold to the one and despise the other. The 
mental healer must be eclectic in his methods. 

Again, we must remember that psycho-analysis is 
not a cure-all. I know a patient who went to a 
medical man, who prescribed holiday and a tonic; he 
went to a Christian Scientist, who prescribed his 
characteristic doctrines. Next he went to an osteo- 
path, who was convinced that a misplaced vertebra 
was the cause of his troubles. Finally, a psycho- 
analyst offered to cure him by a long course of ana- 
lytic treatment. He then came to me to ask what 


he should do! All the various types of healers 
incline to see their own side only, to be advocates 
rather than research students. The advocate reports 
his successes only, and reports them well, with all 
the attractiveness of propaganda. The research 
student sends in a dry-looking document of percent- 
ages of success and failure, but it is fifty-fold better 
evidence upon which to balance a judgement. 

Those who expect miracles and mighty works out 
of every application of psycho-analysis will be dis- 
appointed. There are more failures than successes. 
Yet it remains that these methods have reached, 
helped, and cured thousands who had been otherwise 
incurable. What is needed, therefore, is enough 
experience and discretion to know when and when 
not to apply psychotherapy. It is, moreover, a mat- 
ter of men as much as of methods. The only danger 
attending Mr. Weatherhead's bold handling of the 
matter is that those without his knowledge or his 
gifts should copy his example and seek to do, not 
only what he can do, but what he would never try 
to do. 

Mr. Weatherhead often works in conjunction with 
medical men, but he has no medical qualifications, 
and there is a certain body of opinion both within 
and without the medical profession that is very 
averse from any but medical men undertaking such 
work. I confess it seems odd that an elderly doctor 
of medicine, who attained, some fifty years ago, his 
diploma, based chiefly on his knowledge then of 


drugs and anatomy, and who hasn't studied since, 
should be a fit and proper person to undertake this 
work, whilst a young minister, psychologically 
trained and minded, is not. Only the other day I 
met a doctor who boasted he knew nothing of Freud, 
and that his remedy for 'all this nonsense' was a 
bottle of port and a visit to the sea-side ! But, apart 
from all this, there are three functions in mind- 
healing — physical, mental, and spiritual. A doctor 
may often diagnose the first, a psychologist the sec- 
ond, and yet the case shows no improvement, for 
both overlooked the fact that the soul of the patient 
was out of adjustment to its environment, to the 
God in whom we live and move and have our being. 
I welcome the work of Mr. Weatherhead as a 
true contribution to that most needed thing — a con- 
junction of physical, mental, and spiritual experts in 
the unity of healing. His book is full of interest 
and bears the impress of his personality. It needs 
no words of mine to commend it. But in my eyes 
its chief importance is that it deals with a type of 
work which increasingly it will be the duty of the 
Christian minister to fulfil. 


By John Rathbone Oliver, M.D., Ph.D. 

Professor of the History of Medicine, University of Maryland, 
Author of Fear, the Autobiography of James Ediuards, etc. 

It is but seldom that a book of this type is written 
by a clergyman. We physicians are, therefore, all 
the more ready to welcome into the field of psychi- 
atry a clergyman who has done his best to acquaint 
himself with the method in which psychiatrists deal 
with various types of mental problems. The old 
ideal of the priest-physician may be a very beautiful 
and also a desirable one. It is, however, very diffi- 
cult to realize. A physician cannot, in dealing with 
his mental patients, force upon them his own per- 
sonal religious attitude. It is far easier for the 
priest or the minister who has a working knowledge 
of psychopathology to deal with perplexed and fear- 
ful individuals from a religious standpoint. There 
have been books a plenty written by physicians who 
were also devout Christians. There are fewer books 
written by devout Christians who also have some 
knowledge of mental medicine. The present volume 
will prove especially useful to seminarians or to 
young priests who are seeking some simple orienta- 



tion in such questions as psychoanalysis and psycho- 
therapy. When a man of this type asks me for a 
satisfactory book on psychasthenia, phobias, etc., I 
am too often forced to put into his hand a book 
written by a man whose outlook is purely material- 
istic if not distinctly anti-religious. The value of 
the present book lies in the fact that the writer is 
approaching simple methods of psychotherapy from 
the standpoint of the Christian religion. 


In 1927-9 I wrote a series of articles for the Metho- 
dist Magazine, which the Editor pressed me to allow 
him to collect together into a book. I felt in my 
mind a great deal of hesitation concerning this pro- 
posal, because what may be suitable for a magazine 
article is not thereby suitable for inclusion in a book. 
However, the Epworth Press had promised on the 
jacket of my book, The Transforming Friendship, 
a book on 'Spiritual Healing' from my pen, so in 
the spare time which is possible with a busy church, 
and with continual personal dealing with individuals 
in various kinds of trouble, I have tried to rewrite 
the articles, adding or subtracting when I conven- 
iently could. 'The Curse and Cure of Impure 
Thoughts,' and 'The Soul's Urge to Completeness' 
appeared in The Methodist Recorder, and I am 
grateful to the Editor for allowing me to reprint 
them here. The book obviously remains as a kind 
of by-product of one's more serious reading and 
experience, illustrating some of the principles which 
are gradually being established in modern psychol- 
ogy and the possible relation of those principles to 
a specialized form of pastoral work which some 
ministers feel they ought to take up. 



The origin of the book in one sense goes back to 
war days. Two of us were standing in a ward in a 
war hospital in Mesopotamia when a certain doctor 
— a fine Christian — who practised psychotherapy 
turned on us with the words, 'You padres ought to 
be doing most of this.' Ever since that date my 
chief hobby-study has been psychology, with a special 
interest in the possibilities of using it in the practice 
of my profession. In India we had in Madras a 
psychological study group, of which the Bishop and 
his wife were members, and, after five years careful 
study in India and England, I began to test the new 
knowledge in a practical way, and found that, with- 
out trespassing on the sphere of the doctor on the 
one hand or the psychotherapist on the other, there 
was a sphere in which I could bring relief to troubled 
lives untreated by either. To me this was no small 
discovery, and for the last six years I have tried in 
a quiet and imperfect way to work out a technique 
in this specialized form of ministry. 

I shall at once be asked whether I suggest that all 
ministers should take up this work. Most assuredly 
and emphatically I do not. Few men will want to 
give the five or six years hobby-study necessary 
before one ought to begin. I have now given a 
dozen years, and feel that the acquired knowledge 
and experience are painfully small. Not to all men 
has been given the temperament for this kind of 
work, a temperament involving patience, tact, sym- 
pathy, and insight. I do think, however, that some 


men are admirably fitted by God for this task, and 
that a ministry can be greatly enriched by equipping 
oneself to perform it. 

It ought to be said that in regard to actual cases 
quoted fictitious names have been used, and some 
unimportant details altered so as to disguise the 
identity of those concerned. The sex has only been 
altered where the alteration had no significance. 
Where there is any risk of identification, permission 
to publish has been secured, and in some cases the 
patient has read the typescript before publication. 
Only a very few of the cases quoted are those of 
people in Leeds. Most of them are cases of folk 
who came to me from a distance. Of course, in 
disguising them, no psychological or religious facts 
have been tampered with. 

In seeking to express indebtedness I am in diffi- 
culties. If I have quoted or used material without 
adequate recognition in my footnotes — the method I 
have adopted for acknowledging the sources of my 
information — I here express my regret. 

I have been very fortunate in having had this 
little book read by experts. Dr. W. H. Maxwell 
Telling, Professor of Medicine in the University of 
Leeds, has read the proofs, and I am indebted to 
him for many suggestions, and for his kind Fore- 
word. The same must be said of Professor the 
Rev. Dr. Waterhouse, M.A., the greatest psycholo- 
gist in my denomination. My good friends, the 
Rev. Harold Roberts, M.A., Ph.D., and Dr. S. 

xviii PREFACE 

Thompson Rowling, Lecturer in Anaesthetics in the 
University of Leeds, have helped me with proof 
reading and suggestions, and I can never sufficiently 
thank them, nor can I forbear to acknowledge with 
gratitude the efficient and painstaking work of my 
friend, and secretary, Miss Margaret Webster, and 
my friend the Rev. Fred. W. Beal. I would like to 
add here that my association with medical men and 
women in Leeds, in the work I have tried to do, 
has been one of the happiest experiences of my life. 
I hope they will never have reason to feel that their 
trust and confidence have been misplaced. It should 
be made clear that none of these friends, nor the 
specialist to whom I have permission to dedicate the 
book, and from whom I have learned so much, are 
committed to the views expressed in what follows. 
I must take full and sole responsibility for the point 
of view here worked out and the opinions expressed. 

The book has been written in popular style so as 
to be easily within the reach of those who have read 
little psychology and who do not understand the 
meaning of technical terms. If I were asked what 
I hope to achieve by this book, I think I should 
answer as follows : 

i. To show some distressed men and women who 
are in a very dark wood that some of us believe 
there is a path through it and that we can help them 
find it. 

2. To suggest to some young ministers prepared 
to slog hard for half a dozen years that by becoming 


true, efficient, and understanding physicians of souls 
they can do a work which the Master of Life needs 

3. To suggest to any physicians and psycho- 
therapists who may read this book that there is a 
field for co-operation with the suitably trained min- 
ister in many cases where the origin of the trouble 
is a disharmony of soul. 

4. To suggest incidentally to the man 'with lean- 
ings towards Christian Science' that all that is of 
value in that system can be preserved and used with- 
out recourse to the bewildering metaphysics of 
Mrs. Eddy. 

5. To suggest to the reader to whom the new 
psychology is suspect that there is nothing unclean 
in it, that Freudian methods can be applied without 
every detail of the Freudian point of view being 
accepted, and that the aim of practical psychology 
is that of the New Testament — which contains in 
other language so much of what is valuable in the 
new psychology — namely the facing up to life 
bravely, and the making of it that vigorous, radiant, 
confident, healthful thing God meant it to be. 

L. D. W. 





Obviously so clumsy a title must be defended at the 
outset. Yet it is the only one I can find which 
expresses what I mean. The title 'Religious Heal- 
ing,' or 'Spiritual Healing,' has been spoiled for 
me by being used to describe attempts at physical 
cure which rightly or wrongly — for reasons that will 
be given later — I consider unsound. At the same 
time, I believe that there are certain cases of dis- 
ability, some of them manifesting physical symp- 
toms, in which the origin of the trouble is a dis- 
harmony of the soul. These cases lie in the sphere 
of one who knows both his theology and his psy- 
chology. The ordinary physician or surgeon will 
not feel that they lie in his sphere. Medical and 
surgical methods will not do much to ease a troubled 
mind. The lay-psychotherapist or analyst is hardly 


likely to speak to the sufferer on definitely religious 
lines. He does not consider it part of his work. 
Even if he be a Christian man, his training and 
experience are not such as will make him helpful 
and authoritative in dealing with a sick soul. Will 
he say to the sick of the palsy, 'Thy sins are for- 
given thee ; rise up and walk' ? He may psycho- 
analyse with skill and success, but there are so many 
cases in which psycho-synthesis is even more impor- 
tant for real cureTand I doubt whether this can ever 
be done without relation to religion. Yet there are 
cases known to some of us where the origin of a 
physical disability lies in a spiritual sphere. Perhaps 
forgiveness has been withheld from another and an 
injury has been brooded upon for many years. Or 
possibly a sin has been committed long years ago 
and, unforgiven, has poisoned the mind. A physi- 
cian of souls is needed for this type of case who has 
received a psychological training, has had psycho- 
logical experience as well as experience in dealing 
with the more ordinary spiritual needs of men and 
women; a physician who is never shocked at what 
may be told him and with whom a confidence is an 
inviolate and sacred trust. He, and only he, is likely 
to bring about the cure of such a case; and part of 
the thesis of this chapter is that — in spite of some 
opposition and in spite of the fact that he may be 
confused with the Christian Scientist, the unscientific 
dabbler, andjhe quack — suitable ministers must be 
trained to take up this work. Unless they do, many 


cases of disability in both mind and body will go 
unhealed. But let me begin nearer to the begin- 

In order to build up my argument, I want to begin 
. with the assertion that disease is not the ideal will 
J of God. I Relieve that the ideal will of God is 
I perfect health for every creature. We must pause 
S a moment to allow a place for that minimum of pain 
which is the warning of Nature that something is 
wrong. To say that pain is never the will of God 
is to make an unwarrantable assertion; for without 
pain far back in the original scheme of things, far 
back in the animal creation, it is difficult to see how 
the human race could ever have come to be. The 
animal unwarned by pain would have been destroyed. 
But there is evidence to show that when pain has 
given that warning it ceases to be beneficial and 
becomes an evil thing. 1 Nor must we say that dis- 
ease is never the will of God under any conditions. 
^ The possibility of disease is the will of God. Indeed, 
we may say that sin is the will of God in the sense 
that He_wills the possibility of sin in preference to 
a race of mechanical toys, and the parallel between 
sin and disease can be fairly closely applied. Disease 
follows from human ignorance, folly, and sin, all of 
which God is striving to replace by knowledge, 
wisdom, and holiness; so that with these considera- 

1 e.g. in Dr. Hadfield's experiment with two blisters inflicted by 
suggestion under hypnosis on a patient, one of which he suggested 
should be painful and the other non-painful, the painful one took 
twice as long to heal as the non-painful one. 


tions in mind we may adhere to our statement that 
disease is not the ideal will of God. 

Take an illustration. I remember talking to a 
man in India whose little son had died of cholera. 
We stood on the veranda, where his daughter, the 
only remaining child, slept in her cot. 

'Ah, well,' the man said, T suppose it is the will 
of God.' 

I asked, 'Supposing some one crept up the steps 
on to the veranda to-night while you all slept, and 
deliberately put a wad of cotton-wool soaked in 
cholera-germ culture over that child's mouth, what 
would you do?" 

He replied that he would kill the intruder with as 
little compunction as he would kill a snake. He 
could hardly believe that any one would do such a 
dastardly thing. Yet he believed God would do 
such a thing. 

I said to him, 'Call it human ignorance, folly, or 
sin; call it a careless nurse, a filthy drain, or unclean 
food, but not God.' 

Yet it is part of the bad thinking of our time that 
hundreds of people think that, in order to teach 
them some lesson, God directly wills and intends for 
them personally some kind of diseases or suffering. 1 

We find, then, a great deal of suffering in the 

1 As. Dr. Burnett Rae says (Mind and Body, p. 13): 'If you 
believe that it is the will of God you should be anything but healthy 
and well, that your sickness is God sent, then obviously, however 
much you may develop the spiritual life, its power will not get 
through to the physical: you have put out the clutch.' 


world which is not the will of God and which is of 
no value to the community. I say 'of no value to 
the community,' because it is a fallacy to suppose 
that there is anything inherent in p'ain which makfes 
fo£ nobility of character. Next time you have a 
stomach-ache you can prove this by asking yourself 
whether it is bringing you an access of spiritual 
power. The natural result of continual pain is 
rebellion and depression; and if the suffering saints 
have been — as they have been — strong in character, 
J it has been not through pain, but through their atti- 
j tude to the pain, that they have triumphed. Thus 
God brings His own good out of evil that befalls 
us through our own folly, ignorance, and sin. The 
cross of wood brought about by non-divine intention 
becomes, through the attitude of Christ to it, the 
cross of gold which consummates the divine purpose. 
From these considerations it is not surprising to 
find Jesus going about healing disease, working with 
God in the direction of perfect health. 1 And His 
method was what many would call to-day ^spiritual 
healing. We should, I think, be unwise to suppose 
That tins method was only open to Him in conse- 
quence of His unique relation to the Father. That 
is to say, the healing miracles of Jesus were not 
wrought to prove what God could do and man could 
not, but what man could do and ought to do. 

1 He always assumes that disease is part of the kingdom of evil, 
and never once does He give the slightest sign to the contrary. 
Cairns, The Faith that Rebels, p. 16. 



According to St. John, Jesus made a tremendous 
promise on these lines: 'He that believeth on Me, 
the works that I do shall he do also; and greater 
works than these shall he do, because I go unto the 
Father' (John xiv. 12). 

The followers of Jesus took Him at His word, 
and for many years — Harnack says till well into the 
third century — they practised the healing of the sick 
by the method of spiritual healing. When we ask 
why this fell into disuse, we can see the answer at 
once. Healing by non-material methods is made, 
by foolish cranks and superstitious old women of 
both sexes, into a thing of magic even to-day, as some 
of us know to our cost. Then is it to be wondered 
at that in earlier times it was exploited by quacks, 
pseudo-magicians, and knaves? This happened to 
such an extent that the Church quite rightly washed 
her hands of it. She kept 'official exorcists' for 
centuries, but in the main she gave herself to what 
we generally include under the heading of 'spiritual 
/. work' to-day, and the healing of the physical body 

was left to a gloriously growing medical science — 
the methods of which came in with Greek culture — 
and became a physical art, though for years that 
art too was handicapped by superstition. 

We must notice that cleavage, but we must not 

emphasize it to such an extent as to make it appear 

\ that the good spirit of God was more at work in the 

I CJburch's 'spiritual work' than the crowding dis- 

The power and 

X coveries of mecHcThe arid~surgery 


wisdom of God flowed into both channels. And it ^j* 
is a common fallacy, which we must fight by better 
thinking, that the more you know of a process the 
less it manifests God's activity. Because we know^ 
more of what happens when medical treatment is 
applied than when a man by faith takes up his bed 
and walks, God's power is not less expressed in the 
one than in the other. We .must not see God only 
in that which we cannot explain. Every discovery 
is ^ divine revelation, and the magnificent history 
of medical and surgical research and enterprise can 
only be regarded by the Christian as showing ways 
in which the Spirit of God healed the bodies of men 
even though the method of spiritual healing fell, 
through quackery, into disuse. 

We are only at the beginning of our understand- 
ing of the psychological laws which underlie spiritual 
healing, yet this ignorance must not make the method 
seem more spiritual than a method more completely 
known. The two arts are different methods of doing 
t the same thing — of making sick people well. And it 
I may be added here that no physician, surgeon, or 
r ) spiritual healer heals or has ever healed any one. 1 
/ They link the patient up with God~- They try to 
take away — be it by drug, operation, or suggestion 
— anything that may be in the way of the harmoniz- 
ing of the patient with God. They facilitate the 
working of the laws of health. That one may speak 
of Nature and another of God is a matter of point 

1 'I dressed his wound,' said Galen, 'and God healed him.' 



of view only. Spiritual healing is thus a comple- 
mentarv^method rather than a separate art, "and, as 
far as one can see, it will never supersede the prac- 
tice of medicine and surgery, because it has its own 
province in which to work. Let us ask next what 
this province is. 
/ To do this let us divide all disease into two rough 
classifications, and speak of physiogenic trouble and 
\ psychogenic trouble. Of coursepas the words sug- 
/ gest, physiogenic trouble means trouble the root 
^ cause of which is purely physical, as when a man 
breaks his leg at 'Rugger.' Psychogenic trouble 
means trouble the root cause of which is in the 
mind. (I did not say the brain.) Worry, fear, 
shock, often bring on physical symptoms. In mak- 
ing this classification we must be careful not to stress 
it. We must note that psychic trouble may ensue 
on physical injury or illness, as well as physical 
trouble on psychic conditions. 1 

Now, physiogenic trouble is not, I think, within 
the specified province of the spiritual healer. I am 
not asserting or contradicting the claim that non- 
material methods of cure are entirely irrelevant and 

1 In other words, not only does mind act powerfully on body, 
but body acts powerfully on mind. A lack of balance in the pro- 
portion of glandular secretions brought on by physical changes, 
exhaustion, wrong diet, may so disturb the metabolism of the body 
that the whole mental and spiritual outlook of a patient are dis- 
torted. One doctor writes of a case he had where a man's happi- 
ness and that of his wife and family, his affections, and even his 
religious belief and faith in God, were imperilled by the fact that 
he was not drinking enough water to keep his blood pressure at 
the proper height. 



useless to deal with trouble the origin of which is .a 
physical. I am only saying that if the origin of a (/fj^jl 
disability is physical, in the main it is not unreason- 
able to affirm that the cure will be physical and will 
lie in the province of members of that great pro-, 
fession to whom we all owe so much, who ha^&W 
devoted their time and strength to making physically^' L* 
sick people well, and who have succeeded so amaz- 
ingly that it is hard to believe that there can be any 
better way of dealing with physical disease than by 
putting oneself unreservedly into their hands. 

But I now want to divide psychogenic trouble into 
two kinds. First, trouble caused by a mental as 
against a spiritual disharmony; that is, trouble 
caused by an obsession, shock, or neurosis, which is 
not within the province oT~religion. " 

Take an illustration. A man is amongst his 
comrades in a trench when a shell bursts near them. 
They are all buried by the explosion. This man 
crawls out, and sees the hand and arm of a comrade 
protruding from the wreckage. He pulls, thinking 
to help his comrade, and the arm, which has been 
blown off by the explosion, comes away in his hand. 
Henceforth the man is paralyzed in his right arm 
until by psycho-analysis and synthesis he is cured. 
Or, again, an officer refuses to go into any dark, 
enclosed room, and insists on remaining outside a 
dug-out rather than enter it, even when a barrage 
is on. Psycho-analysis reveals the fact that as a boy 
he was once sent down a long dark entry to a room 


at the end, the door of which opened, letting out a 
big fierce dog, which frightened him, and caused a 
repressed fear of all dark, enclosed spaces until 
treatment resolved the complex and set him free. 
Now, cases like these lie, in general, in the sphere of 
the lay psychotherapist. They are not definitely for 
the minister, though they are very interesting and 
instructive for any student of psychology. 

Let me take a case of my own that is as simple as 
it could be, and therefore illuminating. A young 
girl came to me six or seven years ago in great dis- 
tress of mind. She had been wronged by a former 
friend. Her own conscience impelled her towards 
forgiveness and reconciliation. Her resentment, 
plus a terrible opportunity, impelled her towards 
retaliation. She came to me after struggling with 
these two forces for several months. While this 
conflict of the mind continued, she suffered from 
violent headaches, catarrh, and insomnia. She had 
taken medical advice, consumed bottles of medicine, 
and was no better. It was the easiest case in the 
world to deal with. Having advised her, as any 
Christian would be able to do, I said quite definitely 
that, as soon as she had sought out her friend and 
forgiven her, both mental distress and physical symp- 
toms would disappear. She carried out my advice, 
and came back in a few days, radiant and cured. 
She has had no return of the symptoms since. I 


ought to add that I had her permission to quote ** , 
her case. i^ J) 

The case, simple though it is, is instructive, because 7"%/ 
we see a disharmony of the soul with God, the refusal J 
to forgive, and a consequent mental ferment and a \j^J^ ( 
physical breakdown. When the harmony of the soul 
was restored, healing of mind and body followed. 
Such a case is a case for a minister, because the 
doctor Try his very training tends to interpret symp- 
toms in terms of physical impairment, and because 
the treatment is purely spiritual. 

Let me quote a more recent case, and then pass on 
to a more difficult one. A lady who heard me lecture ^ 
on psychotherapy asked me to go to a town fifty 
miles away to see her gardener. The case may be 
summarized briefly. He had been in her employ 
over thirty years, and had worked well till the last 
three years. During that time he had become 
morose, sulky, brooding. He complained of a pain 
in the chest, and could not do his work. Several 
doctors had overhauled him without finding anything 
wrong. The last had told him he was a lazy devil, 
and should get up and work. For a number of 
weeks his employer had had him at a convalescent 
home, where he got no better. When I saw him — 
and I went with great misgivings — he was in bed. 
For a time we got nowhere. He would not speak, 
save in monosyllables. I intuitively felt that he 
needed God more than any elaborate treatment. 
Without asking permission, I prayed with him. 


Then I got up, and earnestly invited him to tell me 
what was on his mind. Out it all came, higgledy- 
piggledy, in a torrent of language, sometimes choked 
with tears. It was a pretty ghastly story, and I 
won't repeat a fact of it. Then I spoke of God's 
forgiveness ; of its reality and power. I got him to 
pray, not asking for but taking God's forgiveness. 
Suddenly he said, 'The pain in my chest has gone.' 
I went down and told his employer that he would be 
better; and while we were still talking in the hall, 
he came down dressed in his working clothes, and his 
face was radiant. 

Far be it from me to suggest anything wonderful. 
Any one could have done it who would listen, who 
would make God's forgiveness real to him, and hear 
his confession. I affirm quite frankly there is a very 
sound psychological truth beneath the idea of the 
Confessional, and at our hands our people Dught to 
be able to get all that is of value in it without its 
weakness and evils. It is a method of healing souls 
which^w^Tannot afford to let go. 

Now to more difficult cases. The two I have 
mentioned are easy, because it was easy to find the 
root of the soul's disharmony. Sometimes it is very 
difficult, because the complex is repressed in the 

A man came to see me from the Midlands about 
five years ago. He dragged his legs, limping as he 
walked. When he shook hands there was no 'grip' 
about it. He told me of his condition. He shunned 


meeting people. He always felt inferior to every 
one else. He was a failure, and so on. 

A careful analysis revealed the fact that the 
trouble lay right back in childhood. On a certain 
occasion he had been held up to ridicule before the 
whole school. Added to this, my patient had been 
brought up in a big family, where every one else 
was considered more brilliant than himself. He was 
always dull. He could never do things, and so on. 

Gradually it was possible to bring to conscious 
realization those happenings which had caused the 
first sense of inferiority, to disentangle the emotions 
from these painful ideas, and attach them to defi- 
nitely religious and positive ideas. One assured him 
that God had given him great talents. He was not 
to try to be like other people. He was to be him- 
self, the best self he could be. He was to develop 
the possibilities of his own personality, and to realize 
that the power of God could make a man of him 
beyond his wildest dreams. 

To make a long story short, when he finally left 
me he went out of my room without any dragging 
of the limbs, he shook hands like a Methodist should, 
and now he is back — this man who hated meeting 
people — working in his church with a new-found 
enthusiasm. I call that psycho-religious healing, 
because it is the healing of the soul by religious 
ideas, but in strict accordance with scientific psycho- 
logical technique. One is not interested or con- 
cerned so much with physical symptoms. They are 


only physical concomitants of a spiritual disharmony. 
But it is the minister's job to bring souls into har- 
mony with God. 

'Society of all grades to-day,' says Mr. R. F. Hall, 1 
'is crying out for men who are as qualified in wres- 
tling with spiritual and moral diseases as doctors are 
with physical diseases,' and a modern psychotherapist 
said to Mr. T. W. Pym, 2 'Not a few of my patients 
are not cases for a doctor at all. Certainly some 
of them have a religion, and that is all they need. 
But they don't understand it or apply it rightly, and 
it doesn't seem any use sending them to their par- 
son. He generally can't help them to apply it any 

Let me give one other case before we pass on. I 
was asked, with the full concurrence of the doctor, 
to see a woman who was suffering from what had 
been called 'rheumatoid arthritis,' but which the 
doctor himself had come to believe to be due to a 
psychological cause. A careful psycho-analysis was 
made, a business which took some months. The 
buried complex was discovered, brought into con- 
sciousness, and thus robbed of its power to harm, 
its repressed emotions being released. The nucleus 
of the complex was then reassociated with the 
healthy emotions of religious belief, and the released 
emotions directed to new ends. 

When I saw her first, she had seen several doctors 

1 A Family in the Making, p. 60. 

2 More Psychology and the Christian Life, p. 168. 


and one specialist. She had been for five years 
unable to rise from a lying to a sitting position, or 
a sitting to a standing position, without assistance 
and without great pain. When I had got to the 
root of the matter, and had the patient in that lan- 
guid state of relaxation in which ideas are most 
readily received by the mind, positive suggestions, 
all of them religious, were made, and the patient 
assured that she was well, and that she must get 
up and face up to life, look for God's meanings in 
it, and leave the past resolutely behind. I confess 
my faith was hardly big enough for what happened. 
She got up by herself for the first time for years, 
and, with only the tips of my fingers under her 
elbows, to help the unaccustomed muscles take the 
strain, went into the next room, and sat down to 
tea. Her sister was simply overcome with emotion, 
and indeed the moment seemed so sacred that for 
a few moments I withdrew. Unfortunately another 
trouble, quite unrelated to the first, supervened a 
few months later, and the patient died, so that it 
was impossible to record a permanent cure. 

In my own mind I have often wondered whether 
the cures of Jesus were not what we should call 
psychogenic cases of the particular variety which I 
have specified — namely, where the soul is out of har- 
mony with God. Jesus did not cure all sick folk. 
He healed many that were sick (Mark i. 34), not 
all. I am not here denying His ability to do so. 
But, after all, would He have time to do so? There 


were only twenty-four hours even in His day, and I 
am quite sure that people who were in trouble 
because their soul was out of harmony with God 
would claim attention from Him before people who 
were suffering from purely physical distress. He 
was not nearly so interested, I imagine, in bodies as 
in souls (e.g. Luke xii. 4). Moreover, His words 
do seem to suggest what to-day we should call 
psychological treatment. He had no seeming need 
to make a psycho-analysis. His kind but searching 
glance could penetrate to the inward, spiritual hurt 
that was causing the physical disability. He saw 
the psychic origin of physical trouble, and knew that 
when the harmony of the soul with God was 
restored the physical symptoms would be dispelled. 
The case of blindness mentioned in John ix. seems to 
have been treated by suggestion. Jesus makes use 
of current superstition that spittle had a therapeutic 
value to increase the power of suggestion. I cannot 
pretend here to discuss the miracles of Jesus in rela- 
tion to the New Psychology. This has been done 
excellently in a little known, but excellent book, 
Miracles and the New Psychology, by E. R. Mick- 
lem (Oxford University Press), and also in Dr. 
Cairns' The Faith that Rebels, p. 164, et seq., but 
the practice of Jesus does suggest that in these 
modern days when, thanks to psychology, healing 
by non-mate rial methods is frefng s ep a r a^^jjjfrom 
magic and quackery, Christ's ministers, where cir- 
cumstances permit, should listen again to His word 


— given as definitely as His commission to preach — 
'Heal the sick!' 

The question naturally arises whether what one is 
arguing for is not already accomplished by Christian 
Science practitioners. Christian Science will make a 
real contribution to the modern Church if it succeeds 
in bringing into due prominence the Church's healing 
mission in a manner which appeals to the rational 
man. Many people have left other branches of the 
Church and become Christian Scientists because they 
have been conscious in those branches of an incom- 
plete gospel. Others have become Christian Sci- 
entists because they themselves or their dear ones 
have been healed of some disability by its means. I 
personally do not doubt the reality of many 'cures,' 
and I know that many Christian Scientists are men 
and women of the deepest piety and purest motive, 
and frequently their spirit puts us all to shame. 
Moreover, there is one great and sound principle 
underlying their practice — namely, that mental and 
spiritual forces may have an amazing effect on the 

Yet when all this has been allowed I hold that the 
position of the Christian Scientists is unsound, and, 
although I cannot take the space here to say what 
I would like to say, I will give the following reasons 
for my attitude. 

1. No distinction is made between psychogenic and 
physiogenic disability. If the origin of a trouble is 
in the mind it is not unreasonable to suppose that a 


cure may be effected by mental and spiritual methods, 
though even then a lack of technique may lead to the 
symptom only being treated, with a curative effect 
far from permanent, and therefore misleading. If 
the origin of a disability is physical, though mental 
methods which stimulate confidence, cheerfulness, 
and belief in recovery will help towards cure, yet 
physical methods, the specialty of the physician and 
surgeon, are certainly at present the quickest and 
most effective methods of dealing with the trouble; 
and to deny this, unless one is ignorant of what 
happens in our hospitals every day, is not to earn 
the title 'scientist,' and to disparage the work of 
members of the medical profession, too reticent and 
modest to speak of cures, hardly deserves the word 

2. I am led to believe that where a cure is effected 
it is in a sense by accident — that is, the healer has hit 
on a case which is psychogenic or, at any rate, on a 
patient who is extremely suggestible. If this be so 
it is obvious what risks are run when this method 
is used indiscriminately on cases which are not 
psychogenic, and that often the full price is paid 
by the patient for this unscientific method of treating 

Further, the philosophy — though in truth, of 
course, it is no philosophy — on which Christian Sci- 
ence rests is so incoherent and astounding that one 
is forced to believe that the many intelligent people 
who are Christian Scientists have never taken the 


trouble to direct a critical and unbiased mind to the 
teachings of Mrs. Eddy. 

Let me add a paragraph on another method of 
spiritual healing common at the moment. I refer 
to the healing services conducted by Mr. Hickson. 
One ought to say that Mr. Hickson is no quack, no 
frothy emotionalist, but one who has a robust faith 
in God and in the belief that God's will for men is 
health. I confess that his method gives me some 
misgivings for the following reasons : 

1. In a case, which I afterwards tackled, the mass 
suggestion of disease made on the mind of a patient 
at a service crowded with ill folk was greater than a 
suggestion of health made by Mr. Hickson in the 
brief moment when his hands were laid on her head. 

2. The distinction noted above between physio- 
genie and psychogenic disease is not taken into con- 
sideration. People come long distances who ought 
to be in bed, and although two per cent, report 
improvement, many become worse. For we must 
bear in mind the awful depression of a patient for 
whom the service is, in their view, the last ray of 

3. The emphasis on faith makes a patient who is 
unhealed tend to discredit his own lack of faith, 
when it may be a lack of suggestibility. For instance, 
a man of sound faith may be unhealed, and a hys- 
terical girl of no faith be healed; and the former 
may discredit his faith and mourn his lack of it, 
when he may be far nearer to God and stronger in 


faith than those who are healed — the cure depend- 
ing on other factors. 

I think the individual way is best : a patient prob- 
ing of the causes of the trouble on scientific psycho- 
logical lines, tracing it back to its historical origin, 
a discovery of the emotional complex from which 
it springs, a readjustment of the emotion to healthy, 
present activity, and a reassociation of the repressed 
idea with religious suggestions controlled by the con- 
scious mind. It should be understood that this pre- 
supposes that a doctor has seen the patient, and 
that if possible he has definitely stated that the 
trouble in his opinion is psychological or religious. 

Personally I will not undertake any case in which 
there are physical symptoms or serious mental symp- 
toms unless I can work in co-operation with the 
patient's doctor or some other adequate medical 
man. Even if these factors are not present, I much 
prefer to work with a doctor, and many of my cases 
are those sent by doctors who realize that the case 
is outside their province and inside mine, and fortu- 
nately there are many medical men and women 
friendly enough to psycho-religious healing to be 
ready to talk over any case with the minister and, 
if necessary, to make a physical examination. 

My last section endeavours to deal with the ques- 
tion 'Is this the job of the qualified minister?' To 
that question my own answer is an emphatic 'Yes.' 
And my reasons are as follows: 

i. The kind of treatment I have described is not 


normally within the sphere of the doctor, whose very 
training and experience through history lead him to 
look at illness from a materialistic point of view and 
to rely on methods of cure which only apply to 
physiogenic disease. Moreover, few doctors could 
spend an hour twice or thrice a week with the same 
patient. If they did they would be obliged to ask 
for remuneration on an adequate scale, which would 
put the treatment out of reach of some who need 
it most. Professor Freud's own view of this matter, 
however, answers this question best, since it comes 
from the man who is the pioneer of all methods of 
psychotherapy and analysis. 

'It may be asked whether the practice of psycho- 
analysis does not presuppose a medical education 
which must remain lacking to the educator and 
pastor, or whether other relations are not antag- 
onistic to the purpose of placing the psycho- 
analytic technique in other than medical hands. I 
confess that I see no such obstacles. The practice 
of psycho-analysis demands much less on medical 
education than psychological preparation and free 
human insight; the majority of physicians, how- 
ever, are not fitted for the practice of psycho- 
analysis, and have completely failed in placing a 
correct valuation on this method of treatment. 
The educator and pastor are bound by the 
demands of their vocations to exercise the same 
consideration, forbearance, and restraint which the 
physician is accustomed to observe, and their being 
habitually associated with youth makes them per- 


haps better suited to have a sympathetic insight 
into the mental life of this class of persons. The 
guarantee for a harmless application of the 
psycho-analytic method can, however, only be 
afforded in both cases by the personality of the 
analyst.' ( Sigmund Freud. ) * 

The words of Professor J. G. Mackenzie, Pro- 
fessor of Psychology at Paton College, Nottingham, 
are worth quoting here. He says, 'Can the minister 
give anything more than sympathy?' 

'Is he not poaching on the preserves of the medical 
adviser if he attempts anything more? The fact of 
the matter is, that in cases where psychotherapy is 
the only possible treatment, it is the medical man 
who is encroaching on the preserves of the pastor. 
The successes of the psychotherapist are achieved, 
not because he has a thorough knowledge of general 
medicine, nor even because of his knowledge of 
neurology, but in virtue of his pastoral ability. The 
average doctor is wholly incompetent to deal with 
these cases, inasmuch as his training compels him to 
interpret symptoms in terms of structural and nerve 
impairment, whereas the great majority of them 
have their roots in a moral conflict. The time has 
come,' concludes Professor Mackenzie, 'when every 
minister ought to have some knowledge of the 
psychology of the human soul; when he ought to 
receive in his curriculum a thorough grinding in the 

1 Introduction to The Psycho-analytic Method, by Oskar Pfister, 
p. 7. 


conflicts which lead to the divided soul; when he 
ought to know the principles of mental healing.' x 

2. My second reason is that it is more important 
to have a knowledge of religion, both the theoretical 
side which we call theology and the practical side 
gained in the school of experience, than a knowledge 
of physical structure. This importance derives from 
the undoubted fact that the strongest positive sug- 
gestion we can ever make is a religious suggestion. 
Case after case should be proved to show this. As 
Dr. Hadfield says in The Spirit, 'The Christian 
religion is one of the most . . . potent influences 
that we possess for producing that . . . peace of 
mind and that confidence of soul which is needed to 
bring health . . . to a large proportion of nervous 
patients. In some cases I have attempted to cure 
nervous patients with suggestions of quietness and 
confidence, but without success until I have linked 
these suggestions on to that faith in the power of 
God which is the substance of the Christian's . . . 
hope. Then the patient has become strong.' More- 
over, medical knowledge is not needed so long as 
one is working with a doctor in full co-operation 
and does not attempt to trespass in his sphere. 

3- "V^hy_jioX_the_ psycho-therapist ? He has his 
sphere, as I have indicated, but he is not ex hypothesi 
a director or doctor of the soul, nor can he be 
expected to deal with the patient on definitely reli- 
gious lines. In serious cases he is as indispensable 

1 Methodist Recorder, March 20, 1924. 


as is the specialist to the general practitioner. I 
have repeatedly sought his help, but his analysis 
requires a synthesis which he does not pretend 
to make completely. In other words when the 
repressed material has been brought to the control 
of the conscious will he does not reckon to deal with 
it further, yet the patient still needs help to deal 
with this matter. He needs to unify his life and 
harmonize his personality, and the ideal way is in 
the sphere of the minister. I should make excep- 
tions here in the cases of some doctors who were 
ministers before they gave their whole time to 
psychotherapy, and who make, in a sense, ideal 
psychotherapists. I do not think other psycho- 
therapists are likely to make essential an adjustment 
to God, in Whom alone any sufferer can find com- 
plete life and health of mind and soul. Many 
psychotherapists have a large number of cases in the 
sphere of psychiatry (cases of true insanity such as 
paranoia) or neurology (organic disease of the 
nervous system), and are glad to co-operate with 
the qualified minister or leave to him cases of 
religious disharmony. w. 

'There is one fundamental difference between pas- 
toral psychology and psychotherapy. The former 
deals with those who have become mal-adapted to 
the realities of life; the pastor deals with the build- 
ing up of a spiritual personality from the beginning. 
The psychotherapist comes into this special branch 
from ordinary medicine, and as often as not has had 


no training in psychology in the wide sense; he may 
or may not have attended special lectures in psycho- 
therapy, though he must have taken psychiatry lec- 
tures, but these take up a very small part of his 
training. The pastor must take psychology in all 
its bearings on philosophy and ethics as well as char- 
acter. He has not only to attempt the cure of souls 
which are sick morally, but to prevent any such 
disease; his work is just as much to make the chil- 
dren safe as to save them when they go astray. He 
has to meet also the difficulties of what we may call 
normal people, for they have temptations and spirit- 
ual conflicts not far removed from those which lead 
to neurosis. Hence his work is wider in one respect 
than that of the psychotherapist. On the other hand, 
the psychotherapist will have to deal with bodily 
symptoms which the pastor may not even under- 
stand, and with the severe cases of neurosis which 
are beyond the time or skill of the pastor. The 
pastor can scarcely become a specialist in the more 
severe moral conflicts which demand the care of 
analyst or psychotherapist; but he will have knowl- 
edge enough to know that such a case needs special 
treatment and where to send him. Such a knowl- 
edge would have saved much misery and suffer- 
ing.' 1 

4. We ministers are not to be interested primarily 
in the physical disabilities people suffer, but in that 
disharmony of soul which is their cause. Ideally the 

1 Souls in the Making, McKenzie, p. 37. 


religious man ought to be more disturbed to know of 
his sins than that he has contracted a disease. Put- 
ting away all cant phraseology, there is no compari- 
son between our mental states when told, 'You have 
a proud and unforgiving spirit,' and when told, 'You 
have got cancer.' Yet, in the eyes of God, is it not 
true to say that the former is much more serious and 
grievous? As ministers we must seek the diseases 
of the soul, and cure them. If in so doing we relieve 
bodily disability, so much the better; but that ought 
almost to be incidental to our quest. 

5. Most ministers have deplored the loss of mem- 
bers who have 'gone over' to Christian Science. The 
remedy is not to wring the hands, or implore them 
on bended knee to return to the true fold, but to 
show that our view of practical religion embraces 
everything of value in Christian Science without its 
absurd theories, and worse than absurd practices of 
refusing the help of a doctor under any circum- 
stances and alleging the unreality of pain. 

The following passage from John Wesley's Jour- 
nal, May 12, 1759, is not without relevance in 
conclusion : 

'Reflecting to-day on the case of a poor woman 
who had continual pain in her body, I could not but 
remark the inexcusable negligence of most physicians 
in cases of this nature. They prescribe drug upon 
drug, without knowing a jot of the matter concern- 
ing the root of the disorder. . . . Whence came 
this woman's pain? (which she would never have 


told had she never been questioned about it) . From 
fretting for the death of her son. And what availed 
medicine whilst that fretting continued? Why then 
do not all physicians consider how far bodily dis- 
orders are caused or influenced by the mind; and in 
these cases, which are utterly out of their sphere, 
call in a minister?' * 

Wesley's question must be answered, if only 
because it is being asked more and more insistently. 
My own experience is that people will gradually 
come to the minister as a doctor of the soul, which 
surely he ought to be. 

We all remember Macbeth's question : 

Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased, 
Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow, 
Raze out the written troubles of the brain, 
And with some sweet oblivious antidote 
Cleanse the stuffed bosom of that perilous stuff 
Which weighs upon the heart? 

In Shakespeare's play 2 the doctor's answer is an 
evasion. He says : 

Therein the patient must minister to himself. 

1 I have been sent by the courtesy of a correspondent a quota- 
tion made by Bishop Brownlow from certain 'Statutes of the 
Synod' held at Exeter in 1287 under Bishop Tuivil. In these 
statutes medical men when called to the aid of the sick are admon- 
ished that it is their duty to see that the sick person sends for the 
physician of souls, 'since sometimes corporal disease proceeds from 
sin, and when the soul is healed, the corporal malady is more 
wholesomely treated.' 

2 Act V., Sc. III. 


But that is just what he cannot do. He needs 
some one who 'bucks him up,' as we say — who 'puts 
his finger on the place, and says thou ailest here and 
here' — who stimulates his will, kindles his imagina- 
tion, who makes God real to him — who calls out 
from him a faith greater than, unaided, he can 
muster — whose radiant personality, aflame with 
God, fires his own with new hope, rekindled desire, 
reborn assurance. 

People are still wistfully asking the question, 
'Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased?' 

Very humbly, but with an inward certainty as 
strong as steel, modern ministers will have to learn 
to answer, 'In the name of Jesus of Nazareth we 
can and we will.' 



Dreams are as old as humanity, and amongst all 
races and in all ages have been held to have some 
significance. They have played a large part in the 
culture of nearly all primitive peoples, and even 
among highly civilized people like ourselves we can 
find traces of dream lore. Indeed, there are such 
things to-day as dream dictionaries, and many people 
with a simple faith believe that dreams are sent to 
them to warn them of future happenings or to direct 
them in some difficult matter of future conduct. 

Although Aristotle (circa 385 B.C.) wrote a book 
Concerning Dreams and Their Interpretation, in 
which he suggests that dreams owe their origin to 
divine inspiration, we may say that it is only within 
recent years that the science of psychology has taken 
up the problem and tried to understand what dreams 
may mean. 

A common attitude to the dream is to regard it as 

1 Some of the dreams related in this chapter are taken from Dr. 
Freud's great book on The Interpretation of Dreams. I am deeply 
indebted to him for permission to quote them. 



just nonsense; and, indeed, there is plenty of evi- 
dence for that kind of attitude. Where uneducated 
people on the one hand will give dreams a super- 
stitious emphasis, many educated people will just 
regard them as queer phenomena with which a 
cheese and bloater supper has very often something 
to do. One is bound, however, to ask whether there 
is anything in Nature at all which cannot be 
accounted for by reasonable law; and one believes 
that the answer of our age to such a question is 
that every phenomenon must have law and principle 
behind it, though we may only imperfectly under- 
stand them. 

Those who have taken even a passing interest in 
their dreams have noted one or two facts about 
them with which we may make a beginning. ( I ) The 
first is that in dreams we often have the power of 
recalling events which have long ago dropped out 
of consciousness. This is due to the fact that our 
dream life belongs to our unconscious life — namely, 
to our mental life which is below the level of con- 
sciousness — and that in the depths of that uncon- 
sciousness, as we may call it, lie all the memories, 
all the perceptions of our mind since the day of our 
birth, and during dream conditions these memories 
may be recovered. (2) The second feature of 
dreams which most people have noticed is that the 
material in them, the stage scenery, we might say, 
or the manifest content, generally belongs to quite 
recent experiences, often from the events of a day 


or two previous to the dream. (3) The third fact 
is that external sense impressions often determine 
part of the content of a dream. The slamming of 
a door may become the revolver shot of a burglar 
in a dream. 

It is a very interesting thing that by arranging 
external sense impressions one can to a great extent 
determine what a person shall dream about. Freud 
has pointed out that if you strip off the clothes from 
a person sleeping, he will often dream that he is 
walking about naked or that he has fallen into water. 
If you gradually push his body until he is on the 
very edge of the bed with the legs extended over 
the side, he may wake up and smite you; but if he 
goes on sleeping he may dream that he is standing 
or lying on the brink of a precipice. If you place 
a pillow over his head, he will dream of a big rock 
hanging over him, or of something about to crush 
him from above. Meier dreamed that he was 
thrown on the ground and a stake was driven into 
the ground between his first and second toes. When 
he awakened, he found a blade of straw between 
his toes. Another writer, Gregory, dreamt that he 
took a trip to the summit of Mount Etna, where 
he found the heat of the ground unbearable, the 
explanation being the hot-water bottle touching his 
feet. Mauri had some interesting experiments tried 
on him. He was tickled with a feather on the lips 
and tip of his nose, and dreamt that he was being 
tortured by pitch flung in his face. His neck was 


lightly pinched, and he dreamt that the doctor (who 
treated him as a child) had put a blistering plaster 
on it. A drop was allowed to fall on his forehead, 
and he dreamt he was in Italy, perspiring heavily. 
A burning candle was focused on his eyes through 
red paper, and he dreamt that he was experiencing 
very hot weather in some tropical place. But 
Mauri's best example seems to have been accidental 
and unarranged. He dreamt of the reign of terror 
during the French Revolution. He himself took 
part in terrible scenes of murder, and was arrested, 
compelled to give an account of himself, and sen- 
tenced to death. Accompanied by an enormous 
crowd, he was led to the place of execution. He 
mounted the scaffold, the executioner tied him to the 
board, it gave way, and the knife of the guillotine 
fell. He felt his head severed from his body, and 
awakened to find that part of the canopy of the bed 
had fallen down and struck him on the back of the 
neck. This incident illustrates the exceeding brevity 
of some dreams, since presumably he began to dream 
of the French Revolution when he received the blow 
on the neck. 

Not only external sensations, but internal sensa- 
tions from different parts of the body will play an 
important part in the initiation of dreams. People 
suffering from diseases of the lungs dream of suffo- 
cation, or at least of being crowded; and, indeed, 
one can induce this kind of dream by lying on the 
face and partially closing up the mouth and nostrils. 


According to some writers, the common dream of 
flying is induced by the rise and fall of the chest. 

Although all this is true, it does not give any 
explanation of the meaning of a dream. We may 
understand the stimuli which aroused it, and we may 
agree that its material comes often from former 
memories or from things which have been in our 
consciousness just previous to the dream. But what 
causes our dreams? A dream may follow certain 
events in waking life, or certain impressions regis- 
tered during sleep, while these things may condition 
the manifest content of the dream; but are they the 
cause? A cold in the head may follow wet feet; 
but an explanation would have to include a considera- 
tion of germs. A predisposing condition is not a 

~~ We shall get some help and be able to make a 
beginning by thinking of the dreams of little chil- 
dren. If you tell a child you will take him to the 
Zoo, and then for some reason disappoint him, he 
will dream that night that he has been to the Zoo. 
A little boy taken on a holiday to Switzerland was 
allowed to climb with his father to a ridge from 
which he was told he could see, for the first time in 
his life, the glory of the Alps. Unfortunately a 
mist came down, and he could see nothing. He was 
very disappointed, and his father tried to make him 
content with the foothills and a view of a waterfall; 
but he went to bed almost in tears. The next morn- 
ing he related with great joy that he had dreamt 


that from the ridge he had seen the promised view. 
A little girl amazed her father on one occasion by 
saying that she dreamt that her mother had come 
into the bedroom and thrown a large handful of 
chocolate bars under the bed. Her brothers said, 
'What nonsense!' But her mother related that on 
the previous day, on the way home from the sta- 
tion, the girl had stopped in front of a chocolate 
slot-machine, put in her penny, and drawn one bar 
of chocolate, and had eagerly asked for more pen- 
nies that she might empty the machine. The wish, 
denied by the mother's refusal to supply any more 
pennies, led to the dream of unlimited chocolate 
bars. A small girl of only three and half crossed 
a lake in a boat for the first time. She did not want 
to leave the boat at the landing, and cried bitterly. 
The next morning she related that she had sailed all 
night on the lake. 

We thus arrive at our first principle in regard to 
a dream. It is that a dream may be the realization 
of a wish denied in real life. And in the dream of 
a child the desire is realized generally without dis- 
tortion or disguise. Sometimes in adults a dream is 
obviously undisguised wish-fulfilment. Men who, 
with Captain Scott, explored the South polar region, 
and who had to live on indifferent food, dreamt 
continually of ordering magnificent dinners in expen- 
sive restaurants. People who have very little per- 
sonality, as we call it, often find themselves in their 
dreams in places of great power. Cinderella found 


herself in the ballroom dancing with the Prince, and 
many fairy tales are of the order of dreams. 

Yet in the cases of children, as of adults, we must 
be prepared for some kind of distortion and dis- 
guise; that is to say, it will not always be obvious 
from the dream what the desire really is. A boy of 
ten repeatedly dreamed that he was falling down. 
The details varied. Sometimes he dreamt he had 
fallen into the sea, sometimes into a lake where he 
sailed his toy boats. From these dreams he always 
awoke in terror, feeling the bed rising and falling. 
Investigation revealed the fact that the boy had a 
terror of falling downstairs when left in the house 
alone; for he lived in a house with very steep steps, 
and was always being warned that he must be care- 
ful or he would fall down them. The boy said that 
if he fell downstairs he would 'shake all over like 
this,' and, as he said it, he began to make the appro- 
priate movements of the body. He had done this 
before, and his parents had thought St. Vitus's 
Dance was coming on. Now, it would seem absurd 
to say that he wanted to fall down, and that the 
dream was some kind of wish-fulfilment or com- 
pensation; but light was thrown on the matter in a 
conversation with the boy's mother, which revealed 
the fact that on one occasion he was left with the 
maid in the kitchen when his mother was going out, 
and his father (a dentist) was busy in his surgery. 
The child had fallen and knocked his head on the 
iron vulcanizer, which stood in the kitchen. The 


boy screamed, and his mother, who was just going 
out at the front door, came back and nursed him 
until he ceased to cry. It emerged that the mother 
1 had not often fondled the boy. but left him largely 
to the attentions of the maid. Therefore, though 
I the boy heard his mother tell this story and 
"*' vC -t*S remarked, T can't remember that.' he did. in the 
(^Ca**^' depths of his mind, desire to fall, if by falling he 
*V~ , might have his mother's arms about him again and 
get her attention fixed upon himself. Falling was 
less painful to his mind than the hunger for his 
mother. Since the analysis of the dream the boy 
has never dreamt of falling or feared to fall. The 
previous conflict in the mind between the painfulness 
of falling, and the greater painfulness of doing with- 
out his mother because he hadn't fallen, was resolved, 
and harmony restored. 

We must be ready to notice such distortions as 
these. A girl dreamed on one occasion that she was 
standing by the graveside as her sister's body was 
lowered into the grave. It would be absurd in this 
case to say that she wished for the death of her 
sister. But a little investigation went to show that 
on a previous occasion she had been present at a 
funeral of another member of her family, and had 
been led from the graveside to the carriage by a 
young man who comforted her, and with whom she 
had almost unconsciously fallen in love, and whom 
she had not seen since the day of the funeral. The 
explanation of the dream Freud, at least, would 


assert, lies in the fact that her unconscious mind 
realized that if there were a further funeral, such 
as that of her sister, this very desirable person would 
again be met. After all, the unconscious mind is our 
primitive mind. It cares for none of our conven- 
tions and respectability. The primal sex urge of 
the girl for a man was a more powerful element in 
her unconscious mind than any affection for her 
sister, however much her conscious mind might 
assert the contrary and be sincere in such asser- 

In the same way, if a child has what is known as 
an 'oedipus complex' (that is, the abnormal love of 
a boy for his mother), or an 'electra complex' 
(which means the abnormal love of a girl for her 
father), the girl in the latter case will dream of the 
death of her mother, not as the ancients would have 
believed, because the mother was about to die, but 
because the girl in the depths of her unconscious 
mind desires the removal of her greatest competitor 
for the affection of her father. Let us remember, 
of course, that death does not mean the same thing 
to the mind of a child as in the case of an adult. 
A child in my presence ran into the room before 
breakfast and with the utmost cheerfulness declared, 
'Oh mummy, I dreamt you were dead.' To the child 
it is just an easy way of removing a person who 
becomes a nuisance. In the child's fairy stories any 
one in the hero's way is just 'killed.' 'Off with his 
head' is the way out of many problems in child men- 


tality, as the Queen in Alice in Wonderland has 
reminded us. 

In the same way a woman once dreamt that she 
had wrung the neck of a little barking white dog. 1 
She was greatly astonished that she, who could not 
hurt a fly, should dream such a cruel dream. Inves- 
tigation showed that she was very fond of cooking, 
and had many times killed pigeons and fowls with 
her own hand. Then it occurred to her that she 
had wrung the neck of the little dog in the dream 
in exactly the same way as she was accustomed to 
do with pigeons in order to cause them less pain. 
When asked for whom she felt a strong dislike, she 
at once named her sister-in-law, and related at length 
her bad qualities and malicious deeds with which she 
disturbed the family harmony, previously so beauti- 
ful, 'by insinuating herself,' the dreamer said, 'like 
a tame pigeon into the favours of her subsequent 
husband.' Not long before, a violent scene had 
taken place betwen her and the dreamer, which 
ended by the latter showing her to the door, with 
the words, 'Get out. I cannot endure a biting dog 
in my house.' It was clear whom the little white 
dog represented, and whose neck she was wringing 
in the dream. The sister-in-law, it must be added, 
was a very small person with a remarkably white 
complexion. The dream, therefore, is the satisfac- 

1 This dream is recounted by a Wesleyan minister, the Rev. 
R. H. Hingley, M.A., in his excellent book Psycho- Analysis (Met- 


tion of a hostile but unrealized desire in relation to 
the sister-in-law, and we notice how different the 
meaning of the dream is from its apparent content. 


The question naturally arises, 'Whence does this 
symbolism of the dream come?' If the dreamer in 
the last dream wanted to dream about her sister-in- 
law, why shouldn't she do so directly? This leads 
us to distinguish between what the psychologist calls 
the manifest content and the latent content of a 
dream. In order that this may become clear, let us 
consider the dream of Peter in Acts x. Peter is on 
the flat roof of the house of Simon the tanner, which 
stands by the seaside. He is very hungry, and is 
waiting for his dinner. That is important. The 
heavens are opened, and what is called a mainsail is 
let down. The word odovr] is translated 'sheet,' 
because the translators could not make sense of the 
word 'mainsail.' In the sail are 'all manner of four- 
footed beasts, creeping things of the earth, and 
fowls of heaven.' Then a voice said, 'Rise, Peter; 
kill, and eat.' The dreamer replies, 'Not so, Lord; 
for I have never eaten anything that is common or 
unclean.' The voice answers, 'What God hath 
cleansed, make not thou common.' This was done 
three times, and the sail lifted again into heaven. 

The manifest content includes the sail, the ani- 
mals, the voice, and the dreamer's reply. Why 
should these symbols emerge? The mainsail would 


be there, because, as the dreamer sat on the roof 
of the house by the seaside (Acts x. 5), the last 
thing he would see before falling asleep would be 
ships with mainsails hoisted coming from distant 
lands. The animals, the fowls, and the voice say- 
ing, 'Rise; kill, and eat,' are due to his hunger. 

We arrive at the latent content by asking the 
dreamer what the objects in the manifest content 
suggest to his mind. The law of association of 
ideas is brought into operation. It is said that 
'Peter was much perplexed in himself what the 
vision he had seen might mean.' We might have 
asked him what the word 'mainsail' suggests to his 
mind, and he might easily have replied, 'A mainsail 
suggests vessels, vessels suggest ships on the sea 
coming from far-off lands,' and these ships might 
quite easily have been realized to be symbols of the 
Gentile world. Supposing we had said, 'What does 
hunger suggest to your mind? What else are you 
hungry for?' He might easily have replied, 'For 
the souls of men.' Accepting that issue, we might 
have got him to consider why he refrained from 
eating; and it would not be difficult for his mind 
to produce the thought that some souls were unclean 
to a Jew — namely, Gentiles. In this way the ani- 
mals symbolized Gentiles. Peter had been solilo- 
quizing on the problem of the admission of the 
Gentiles to the infant Church; and during the dream, 
when the thinking of his unconscious mind was 
unfettered by those prejudices, barriers, and con- 


ventions, which so restrict its movements in con- 
scious life, his better self (the voice of the Lord) 
realized that there was no reason for their exclusion. 
What God hath cleansed must not be called common. 
The interpretation of the dream, then, is Peter's 
own unrealized desire to include Gentiles in the 
infant Church and his recognition that as children 
of the same great Father they are in no sense 
unclean. 1 The dream has been valuable to the 
dreamer because it brings harmony in place of 
Peter's mental conflict caused through exclusion of 
the Gentiles determined only by his Jewish prejudice 
against them. The symbolism is thus seen often to 
come from recent events in the conscious life. It is 
the manifest content. It is the stage scenery. But 
the latent content is as different as the words spoken 
on the stage are different from the scenery. Keep- 
ing the same figure we may think of the interpreta- 
tion of the dream as the meaning of the plot. 

Take another biblical dream, where the boy 
Joseph dreams that the sheaves of his brethren bow 

1 The dream and the interpretation are taken from an article 
entitled 'Dream Symbolism and the Mystic Vision,' by Canon B. H. 
Streeter in The Hibbert Journal, January 1925, now reprinted in 
Reality. Since these words were first written I was much inter- 
ested in being shown by a clergyman who was formerly chaplain 
to the Bishop of Jerusalem, a photograph of the seaside at Joppa, 
where the calm surface of the sea does suggest a 'sheet,' and where 
rocks sticking up out of the sea are of grotesque shapes not unlike 
animals. The clergyman said that 'animals in a sheet' would be 
suggested to him as he stood on the beach. This is a most inter- 
esting suggestion, but, on the whole, I incline to the one put for- 
ward in the text to account for the manifest content of the dream. 


down before his sheaf. Here we remember that a 
younger brother, disliked, repressed, and ill-treated 
by his jealous older brethren, in phantasy gets for 
himself a delightful revenge. To all Nomadic tribes 
the begetting of a multitude of offspring is the most 
satisfactory means of securing wealth and power. 
Obviously it is no use having wealth if a neighbour- 
ing tribe by force of numbers could vanquish the 
wealthy tribe whenever they liked. We remember 
how the promise came to Abraham that his seed 
should be as the sand on the seashore for multitude. 
The sheaf is obviously a phallic symbol of fertility, 
and the little herd-boy fulfils his wish in a dream 
in which he founds a family greater and wealthier 
than that of his older brethren. The manifest con- 
tent is the sheaf. The latent content is that kind of 
prosperity which the sheaf symbolizes, and the inter- 
pretation of the dream is the wish for power, and 
compensation for the unrealized desires of youth. 

The view that every dream is the symbolic expres- 
sion of an unfulfilled wish is, I think, too narrow. It 
certainly gives us a solution to many dreams ; but the 
second principle I want to suggest is that a dream 
may be the symbolic expression of anything seriously 
and deeply exercising the subconscious mind. 

Canon Streeter was once congratulated on an 
essay he had written, and this set him thinking that 
the circumstances under which it was written were 
that certain harassing events in his own life were 
resented because they interfered with a projected 


work on constructive theology as well as being pain- 
ful in themselves. Yet these events suggested the 
lines of the essay. So that good had come out of 

The dream was that Canon Streeter was in a cer- 
tain set of rooms at college where members of the 
Student Christian Movement were assembled at a 
thinly attended meeting. They were about to begin 
with prayer, when Streeter got up to shut the door. 
As soon as he knelt there was a knocking at the door. 
Much annoyed by the interruption, he looked out, 
and there were two members of the Christian Union, 
whom he gladly welcomed. The same thing occurred 
again, and he let in another two, with the feeling 
that it was going to be a good meeting after all. 
The prayer-meeting is his theological writing. Late- 
comers are his anxieties, which, at first resented as 
interruptions, are ultimately found to contribute 
materially to the value of the work. 

It is because the dream may symbolically express 
anything with which the mind is deeply preoccupied 
that it often appears to be a warning and foreshad- 
owing. Supposing a man is busily thinking of a way 
out of some perplexity. Suppose, in the second 
place, there are only three ways out of it. Suppose 
that just before he sleeps -his mind has been busy 
with two of these three ways. Then, while he sleeps, 
his mind, which goes on working at the problem set 
it before he slept, hits on the third solution, and 
weaves out of it a dream, which may be heavily dis- 


torted or may be straightforward. Supposing that 
circumstances make the third way become the only 
way out, then the man might readily suppose he 
'had been warned of God in a dream.' That one 
often dreams of where a lost article is hiding is 
explained in the same way. The conscious mind 
thinks of a number of places, but the unconscious 
mind remembers where it was put, and may easily 
reveal this in a dream. During the war many people 
dreamed of enemy troops in the back garden, or in 
the street, or knocking at the door. They dreamt 
that Zeppelins would come, the reason being that 
their mind was dwelling on the possibility of inva- 
sion. It is not difficult to see how a dream has 
gained this reputation for prophecy, when we 
remember that if the Zeppelins came the night after 
they were dreamt about an unpsychologically-minded 
person would naturally regard the coincidence as 
fulfilled prophecy. 

The third principle I want to suggest is that many 
dreams symbolize some fear or anxiety to which we 
have not faced up, as in the case related by Dr. 
Maurice Nicoll, where a man who had not faced 
up to his fear of his employers dreamed 'I was in a 
desert. Before me was a tremendously tall wall. I 
was cowering at its foot in terror.' As the patient 
himself remarked, he 'was up against it.' Or per- 
haps the fear is not yet fully realized; that is to 
say, we find dreams pointing to events which the 
psychologist knows are imminent, but which the 


dreamer himself may not realize are about to befall 
him. For example, if we take people of any age, 
from early childhood up to old age, we know that 
there is always to be found some new demand, more 
or less imminent, which in dreams would be likely 
to be represented as danger. A child must face the 
unpleasantness of control; a little later the discipline 
of school; later still the girl must face all the upset- 
ting demands made by her adjustment to marriage 
and motherhood; and a man must face the earning 
of his living and the responsibility of his home. An 
unmarried woman of forty must face the probability 
of spinsterhood. The old man or woman must 
face the relinquishing of certain activities formerly 
enjoyed. All through life there is a typical demand 
for each age. During the war a young girl of seven- 
teen related the following dream: 'I was walking 
down the street where our house is when suddenly 
some soldiers, wearing helmets, came round the cor- 
ner. They stopped me, and one of them grasped my 
arm and took me away, and I awoke in terror.' It 
may be that the fear of invasion is the simple solu- 
tion of the dream; in which case the soldiers are 
soldiers, and not symbols of something else. It is 
much more likely that the interpretation of the 
dream is as follows: The soldiers are merely mani- 
fest content, due to the fact that her mind is full 
of the war and its images. To a girl of seventeen 
what is the latent menace of that particular age? 
It is a private and personal demand of the awaken- 


ing sex instinct. Subconsciously she has become 
aware of factors in life which will sweep her out 
of her present orbit into a strange and new life. 
This is the explanation of the hand on her arm lead- 
ing her away. If a girl related such a dream, and 
if her parents were awake to the significance of 
dreams, they would not lose time before they put 
her in possession of those facts of life and sex with- 
out the possession of which it is criminal to send a 
youngster of either sex out into the world; facts 
which ought to be known before the onset of puberty. 
All ministers in the confidence of young people feel 
very strongly on this point, and I may add in paren- 
thesis that recently I interviewed a girl of twenty- 
seven who was in great mental distress, and who 
didn't know as much about the facts of birth as my 
little boy of five. I also recently interviewed a youth 
who told me that for six years at boarding-school he 
was in hell because he thought that a perfectly natu- 
ral nocturnal emission was a symptom of venereal 
disease. Six minutes conversation with his father 
would have saved him six years of worry and misery. 
A schoolboy, newly at school and terrified of a master, 
dreamt continually as follows : 'I was in a swimming- 
bath full of water. My form master, dressed in a 
red bathing-suit, stood on the edge and pushed me 
away with a long pole whenever I tried to climb out. 
I swam round and round in despair.' * If your boy 
tells you of such a dream, you will know it is some 

1 Related by Dr. Maurice Nicoll. 


one (probably his master, for a boy's dreams are 
seldom disguised) who is stupidly bullying him and 
may cause him to be backward. One can feel the 
poignancy of this dream. The boy cannot get out 
anywhere. He is 'in the soup' as we say — not an 
inappropriate phrase to describe the water in some 
swimming baths. He is checked at every turn by the 
awful figure in the symbolic red. Probably the 
situation is that in the master's eyes the boy cannot 
do anything right. And this is a serious situation, 
which, if unremedied, will rob the boy of his belief 
in himself, and thus of his self-respect. He will 
develop an 'inferiority complex,' and break down in 
later life, perhaps as late as forty, at the demands 
life makes upon him. If a master or parent is 
obliged to rebuke a boy for what is wrong, let him, 
at any rate, praise him for what is right, and not let 
the boy suppose that he is fit for nothing. I once 
heard a parent say, 'I don't know what you'll do,' 
'You'll never make much of life,' and so on. To 
the extent to which these ideas are accepted by the 
boy they will actualize. I am trying to help a man 
now of over forty who is all but a wreck, and yet 
all his neurotic symptoms go back to the age of ten. 
He was the last of a big family. He was unwanted. 
He was an accident, and actually found that out. 
When friends called, photographs of other children 
were shown, but none of him. Other children were 
introduced, 'This is our clever son,' 'This is our 
pretty daughter,' but no word was said about him. 


One night they found him sobbing out his heart in 
an attic. 'Why are you crying?' they said. 'No one 
wants me,' he sobbed. They sought to comfort him, 
but it was too late. The damage was done, and it 
is no small job to put it right. In a real sense many 
dreams like the boy's might be called anxiety 
dreams, not wish-fulfilments; and we may find the 
clue to them by considering the mental background 
of the dreamer, in which the immediate future is 


We asked and answered the question, Whence the 
symbolism? We are bound now to ask the question, 
Why the symbolism? Why are our dreams obscured 
to us by symbols? Why are they frequently appar- 
ent nonsense, why do we do the most impossible 
things, and assemble the most amazing incidents in 
what seems like a meaningless hotch-potch? The 
answer in a sentence is that we do this, or rather 
it is done for us, because the crude truth would be 
distasteful to the personality. There is a sense in 
which the function of the dream is to guard sleep 
from a mass of latent thoughts, many of them dis- 
tasteful, by focusing them into a more or less 
momentary picture; and while our crudest desires 
find fulfilment, yet that fulfilment is so disguised as 
to be unrecognizable, lest our sense of respectability, 
built up by conventions and prejudices, should be so 
jarred that we are awakened or, if not actually 


awakened, tortured by the memory of the dream for 
days to come. Sometimes, of course, the mechanism 
is incapable of dealing with the situation and we are 

The mechanism by which crude desire is changed 
into innocent imagery is called by psychologists the 
endo-psychic censor. This, which sounds formid- 
able, is easy to understand by making reference to 
the cartoon. If a man had written to the paper some 
months ago and accused Mr. Lloyd George of hav- 
ing amassed a large sum of money by the sale of 
honours, he might find himself in the law courts 
answering a charge of libel, or he might have his 
letter returned; but Punch contained a cartoon in 
which Mr. Lloyd George appeared as a great sphinx 
with its paws on a bag of gold, labelled, if I remem- 
ber rightly, 'Liberal Honours,' and the cartoonist 
received nothing but applause and smiles. That is 
to say the symbolism obscures the painfulness of the 
alleged reality, and yet the meaning of the cartoon 
is clear to everybody who has a knowledge of pres- 
ent-day incidents. Why did the cartoonist use the 
figure of a sphinx? Because a sphinx is silent, and 
Mr. Lloyd George does not intend to divulge how 
he got the money. In a not dissimilar way our 
dreams are cartoons. The picture which seems so 
nonsensical may be made up of anything we have 
seen, or read about, or experienced, especially any- 
thing in recent experience; but a selection is made 
of things which can bear a latent meaning, as in the 


case of the sphinx, though the significance of the 
symbolism is far from being as easy to trace, and 
familiar things are often arranged in an unfamiliar 
way. But just as the explanation of the cartoon 
demands a knowledge of English political events, 
and as the cartoon would be rubbish, say, to a Hot- 
tentot, so in the same way our dreams are mean- 
ingless to us so often because we are unaware of 
the deep incidents and tendencies of our own uncon- 
scious life. But just as in the cartoon every figure 
means something quite definite and clear in its mean- 
ing to those who know political events, so in the 
dream everything has a meaning interpretable by 
the life of the unconscious. The technique of inter- 
pretation is the problem of deciding what the sym- 
bols in the dream really mean. 

Some psychologists tell us that symbols always 
mean the same thing. For example, a king means 
the father of the dreamer; a birth a new beginning; 
trying to catch a train and losing it, or trying to stuff 
many things into a small bag, means fruitless inco- 
ordinate effort, typical of the extravert who has too 
many contacts with life; to dream of walking, run- 
ning, climbing, travelling means that the dreamer is 
sure of progress; to dream of stumbling means fear; 
wild animals mean menaces, and so on. This is not 
to be accepted. It is absurd, as Dr. Hadfield has 
pointed out, to carry about in the mind a little pocket- 
book of symbols with the meaning in the opposite 
column. The meaning of a symbol depends on the 


dreamer, and it would be a gross error to interpret 
all symbols alike. This is one of the dangers of 
dream interpretation, that the interpreter tends to 
explain a symbol according to his own psychological 
attitude, instead of with an unbiased mind. The 
result is that you can take a dream to half a dozen 
people and receive six different and often contradic- 
tory interpretations. To one interpreter the sym- 
bols are sexual, to another they are compensatory, 
to another they are teleological, to another reminis- 
cent, and so on. 

Then how may we interpret a dream? I suggest 
the following method. 

( 1 ) Let the dreamer tell it without any interrup- 
tion and without artistic additions. Let the inter- 
preter then write it down as fully as he can, not 
omitting even the details which appear nonsense. 
(2) Then let the dreamer, reclining in a chair with 
all the muscles relaxed, and in as quiet an atmos- 
phere as possible, say what is suggested to his mind 
by the salient factors in the dream. For example, 
if he dreams of Niagara Falls, ask him to give all 
the associations which occur to his mind in connexion 
with the word 'falls,' and make a note of these. Do 
not despise superficial and apparently far-fetched 
associations. If Niagara Falls suggest to him fall- 
ing on a banana skin or a fallen woman, do not 
omit these associations as absurd. The word 'drive,' 
for instance, may give a great many associations. 
We drive a golf ball, we drive a horse, we drive in 


a nail, we go for a drive, we walk up a drive, we 
go to a whist drive; we talk of driven snow, of 
driving it too late, of the drive of a great emotion, 
of a nigger-driver, of a drove of oxen, and of being 
driven to drink. The word blue may lead one up 
many paths. For instance, in Mesopotamia you 
might have an officer who had blue blood in his 
veins and who at Oxford had been a blue. Rarely 
would he be a blue after dark when the whisky went 
round, unless, of course, he was out in the blue on 
some stunt or other. Then he might be in a blue 
funk and the air would be blue with his language. 
But in due time he would recover from his fit of 
the blues, get his leave and his pay, and blue the 
whole of the latter in a single day of the former, 
and he wouldn't spend it on blue stockings either. 
(3) Question the dreamer about his life, especially 
in regard to those points raised by the associations 
given, on the principle that just as you cannot under- 
stand a cartoon without knowing something of the 
affairs of state, you cannot understand the dream 
without knowing something of the affairs of the 
dreamer. (4) Look out for the obvious needs of 
the dreamer having regard to his age, environment, 
sex needs, deprivations, and so on. 

Tansley has well pointed out that we cannot 
expect, at the present stage of the scientific treat- 
ment of dreams, to make sense of everything which 
occurs in a dream. He claims that many dreams 
may be mere mental fragments, just as our waking 


thoughts are. We may reproduce snatches of 
stones, situations, and actions which are merely 
fragmentary representations from waking life; but 
where the dream seems a complete entity there is 
probably an explanation behind it. 

I have made no attempt to put over against one 
another the opposing conceptions of the dream 
offered by Freud and Jung. Freud, as most people 
will know, will work reductively, reducing all asso- 
ciations to a sexual basis. Jung will work construc- 
tively, and give prominence to the immediate life 
of the dreamer. This controversy is too big a sub- 
ject for us here. All I have tried to do is to show 
that the dream is capable of a rational interpreta- 
tion. It may reveal a wish we have scarcely realized 
to be a wish. It may reveal a problem with which 
we are deeply concerned, and which, it may be, is 
producting a conflict in the mind. Or it may reveal 
a deep menace to which we are not properly 
facing up. 

Some time ago a woman came in to see me at my 
room. She had been sent to me by her doctor, and 
she brought a letter from the doctor with her. In 
the letter I was advised that the patient was on the 
verge of a very serious breakdown, but that all the 
doctor could suggest was that she should go away 
for a rest and take sedative medicines. 

Truly the patient was in a pitiable state and could 
not keep from tears. It was exceedingly difficult to 
get behind her mind in order to see what was the 



matter. Her heart throbbed violently, and she 
showed all the symptoms of nervous distress. We 
got at it at last through a dream. This was the 
dream as reported by the patient. T stood just 
inside the porch of my house while a great storm 
raged in the street. In the middle of the road stood 
my brother. He seemed distressed at the violence 
of the storm and had no mackintosh or umbrella. 
At last I rushed out with a coat, threw it over him, 
and brought him to my house. In doing so I got 
drenched.' v 

I immediately advised the patient to sit down at 
my table, write a letter to her brother, invite him to 
tea at her house, and make it up. (She was a mar- 
ried woman with a home of her own.) She asked 
how I knew she had quarrelled with her brother, but 
this she had told me in the dream which, obviously, 
is simpler than most and freer from distortion. She 
wrote the letter, made it up, came back in a week 
when I asked her if she wanted another appointment. 
She replied that it was quite unnecessary as she was 
better and was sleeping and eating normally, and I 
may add that her very facial expression was altered. 
It possessed a new radiance. The doctor was amazed 
at the cure, but of course it was not more wonderful 
than cures which doctors achieve every day, only in 
this case the laws used were psychological, and in 
their cases physiological. The general meaning of 
the dream will be obvious, though some points are 
not clear. The brother (unsymbolized) has done 
something which has brought a 'storm' about his 


ears and caused his sister to quarrel with him. The 
patient is sheltered from the storm. She is under 
the porch of her own house. Her own self- 
righteousness is apparent. The brother has done 
wrong. He is suffering the penalty. Why should 
she suffer? Why should she go out into the storm 
at all? She has done nothing wrong. It serves him 
right. So half her mind is arguing. But there is 
severe mental conflict present. The other half of 
her mind, to put it popularly, is arguing differently. 
'This is not a true Christian attitude or a sisterly 
one. Even though he does deserve it, I remain 
his sister and I ought to share it. I ought to pro- 
tect him even if I incur the storm too.' So she goes 
out with the mackintosh, puts it over him, and gets 
wet in the process. Now the right course of action 
is always the healthy thing to do. God made us 
like that. Therefore when she writes to her 
brother, inviting him to tea, and makes up the quar- 
rel, she at the same time shares the brother's troubles 
and resolves her own conflict. When the conflict is 
resolved the cause of the 'breakdown' disappears 
and a rapid cure follows. It would have been little 
use the patient taking drugs, for they do not touch 
the mind. And a holiday at the sea is a poor remedy 
if you take with you a troubled mind. 'The sea saith 
"It is not in me." ' * 

The value of dreams to the doctor of souls is thus 

1 Job xxviii. 12: 'Where shall wisdom be found, and where is 
the place of understanding? . . . The deep saith, "It is not in 
me" and the sea saith, "It is not with me." ' 


apparent. If he is the master of his subject, if he 
has studied hundreds of dreams, if he has developed 
the technique of asking the right questions (a great 
part of the art of psycho-analysis), if he understands 
the application of the word-association test v if he can 
readily interpret the dreams of those who come to 
him, or are sent to him because their trouble is moral 
or religious, he can not only relieve a good deal of 
disability, but lead a troubled soul to the place of 
self-knowledge — and self-knowledge, frankly and 
sanely regarded, is always power. 



All religious teaching consists in conveying ideas to 
the mind which are later to be carried out by, and 
in some sense realized in the personality of those 
who receive them. If, therefore, there is any way 
in which ideas can be made more potent, more easily 
realized or readily absorbed by the personality, then 
that method should be made known as widely as pos- 
sible in the interests of our personal religious experi- 
ence. This is the defence, if any were needed, for 
claiming that auto-suggestion has a very vital rela- 
tionship with religion. Auto-suggestion is a method 
aimed at implanting noble ideas. Therefore, if it 
can assist us, let us hear what it has to say. 1 

Auto-suggestion is the introduction to the mind of 

/* Christianity has recognized the value of auto-suggestion in one 
sense. Music, art, and architecture are used to produce psycho- 
logical conditions under which religious ideas can be more easily 
accepted by the mind. A kind of emotional spell is — justifiably as 
I think — cast over the worshipper, under which it is more easy to 
inculcate religious ideas. And while the spell lasts the critical 
faculty is, to a great degree, inhibited and non-religious ideas 
excluded. We may note, for instance, that it would be all but 
impossible to stand up in Westminster Abbey and sing a comic 
9on S- ^r,! V ' A / I \ 


certain ideas under conditions which will bring them 
into those depths of the mind in which they can 
a 1 actualize and hereafter influence the personality. 
1 Some psychologists separate auto-suggestion and 
hetero-suggestion, or, in other words, ideas intro- 
duced by oneserf, and ideas suggested by others. 
T^l^Ai, But we need not concern ourselves with this distinc- 
tion, since, in conscious auto-suggestion, all ideas 
must be received by the self before they can func- 
tion — that is, hetero-suggestion must become auto- 
suggestion before it is of any value. 

The practice of auto-suggestion is made valuable 
by the fact that if an idea be accepted by the whole 
of the mind, and if it be reasonable, it will actualize 
or come true. 

It might be well to illustrate this at once by show- 
ing the action on the body of suggestions made to 
the mind, and then arguing that if so material a 
thing as the body reacts so wonderfully to sugges- 
tions received by the mind, then an immaterial entity 
like the soul may be even more potently influenced. 
A hundred incidents might be recorded to show how, 
in certain cases, mental suggestion brings a physical 
result. Who, for example, has not heard a child 
cry, 'Mummy, kiss it better'? and witnessed all the 
symptoms of pain in a bruised knee disappear on 
the application of that kiss. Dr. Dureaud reports 
a certain unjustifiable experiment on a hundred hos- 
pital patients. They were given a mild mixture 
containing nothing but sugar and water. It was 


afterwards pretended that the dose contained an 
emetic administered by mistake. Eighty out of 
the hundred were immediately sick. Their minds 
accepted the idea that the mixture was an emetic, 
and so great is the influence of the mind over the 
body that the physical reaction of sickness followed. 1 
Many will recall the story of Sir Humphry Davy, 
who, wishing to experiment with some new prepara- 
tion on a patient suffering from paralysis, first put 
a thermometer under his tongue. The patient, 
believing that this was the new remedy, felt so much 
better at once that Sir Humphry, without going any 
further, told him to come the next day, and in a few 
days, with the application of the thermometer for 
some minutes each day, the patient was well. 2 

An amusing case of the power of suggestion is 
reported by Gillet, one of the pupils of Coue. He 
was suffering from asthma, and on a holiday journey 
was awakened in his hotel by a violent paroxysm of 
the disease. Greatly distressed through lack of 
breath, the patient got out of bed in the night, but 
could find neither matches nor the window. He felt 
if only he could get some air he would be better. 
Feeling about the dark room, his hand came upon a 
pane of glass. Thinking it was the window, he felt 
in vain for the window bolt, and as another choking 
paroxysm came on he lost patience, took his slipper, 
and broke the pane of glass. Again and again he 

1 Nerves in Disorder, Dr. A. T. Schofield, p. 139. 

2 Ibid., p. 136. 


drew deep breaths of what he thought was the fresh 
air. The throbbing at his temples passed, and he 
climbed back to bed and slept quietly till the next 
morning. On waking in the morning he found that 
the glass case enclosing a clock was broken, and an 
item on his bill ('broken clock-case, 5 fr.') confirmed 
the fact that his struggle for air had ended in his 
breaking the case of the clock, but since his mind 
accepted the idea that he had broken the window 
and was letting in fresh air, he slept soundly till 
the next morning. 1 

It is easy to see how many quack cures owe their 
potency to the power of suggestion. Of course, sug- 
gestion may have a deleterious influence, as when a 
butcher, pale and pulseless and suffering acute agony 
in his arm, was brought into a chemist's shop, where 
he explained that he had slipped in hooking a heavy 
piece of beef and had been suspended by his arm 
on the sharp hook. Yet when the arm was exposed 
it was uninjured, the hook having caught in his 
sleeve. Coue once noted a case of a nun confined to 
her bed by illness during the winter. She heard the 
doctor murmur — during the time when he supposed 
she was unconscious — 'She won't outlive April.' 
This idea became fixed in her mind. Nevertheless, 
for the time being she got better, left her bed, and 
seemed quite strong again. But to every visitor she 
said that she felt sure she would die in April. On 
April the first her appetite disappeared as if by 

1 Baudouin, Suggestion and Auto-Suggestion, p. 92. 


magic. A few days later she took to her bed once 
more, and died shortly before the end of the month. 
The story is well known of the criminal condemned 
to death in Paris who offered himself for any scien- 
tific experiment which scientists liked to carry out on 
him providing that it caused him no more pain than 
he would suffer from the guillotine. The scientists 
bound his eyes and said that he would have his throat 
cut. They then drew the edge of a playing-card 
lightly across his throat and poured warm water 
over his neck. His mind accepted the idea that the 
knife had been applied and that blood was flowing 
over his neck. This belief was sufficient to cause his 
death. So one might go on for a long time with 
cases in which, beyond all cavil or doubt, the idea 
accepted by the mind has a far-reaching effect upon > , a 
the personality. ^Jf^J^tAS^* 

It must be noted carefully, however, that auto- £7, tC/i (j 
suggestion is only effective under certain conditions. « J ( 
One of the most important of these is that the idea &Wft*Jl>**f.* 
suggested must be accepted by the whole mind. If \t (L 
a man has a raging toothache and I say to him, 'You /. <%/U4w 
can feel no pain,' the reality of the pain is so great ^ckC^\ 
that it prevents the acceptance of the idea of pain- 
lessness, and therefore no benefit is imparted. Then £, It^ZA ' 
again, if the critical faculty of a person be unduly # » JTZ 
strong so that he examines, challenges, and questions 
every idea suggested to his mind, then auto-sugges- «*w*^ 
tion will do little for him. If he has some fear of 
being thought superstitious, or fear of putting him- £ "fz&A * 


self in the hands of the suggester, then suggestion 
will do little for him. 

One factor will prevent the success of any method 
of suggestion either in things physical or things 
spiritual, and it is a factor which is not so readily 
recognized. It is that in some cases the very idea 
which is suggested to a person's mind brings into 
consciousness an associated ide#, or many associated 
ideas which tend to crush the germ Iclea. This can 
be readily illustrated. Supposing during a voyage 
you go up to a sailor leaning over the taffrail and 
say to him, 'I am afraid you are going to be sea- 
sick,' he will probably laugh at you, because the idea 
of seasickness introduced into his mind calls up the 
associated idea of his immunity from it, and there- 
fore your germ idea is killed by his confidence in 
immunity. But if you go up to a timid-looking pas- 
senger and say, 'My dear sir, how ill you look. I 
feel certain you are going to be sick. Let me help 
you downstairs,' he will at once turn pale — probably 
stifling a tendency to throw you overboard — because 
in his mind the idea of seasickness is associated not 
with immunity, but with his own fears and fore- 
bodings, and probably with his memories of what 
has happened on former voyages. In the first case 
the idea was refused because it was overwhelmed 
by contrary associations; in the second the uncon- 
scious mind accepted it, since it was reinforced by 
similar ideas from within. 1 

~ u "Cf. the Practice of Auto-Suggestion, by C. Harry Brooks, p. 60. 


It is worth saying at this point that some prayers 
do not help us to be efficient or to overcome our 
temptations, because in seeking pardon for past sins 
we drag up past memories of failure into conscious- 
ness where they make a most potent suggestion 
against future success. We should not pray so much 
for forgiveness because that brings into the mind 
a number of associations of repeated falls. The 
very fact that we want to pray means that we are 
penitent, and instead of praying for forgiveness we 
should accept forgiveness, and concentrate the mind, 
not on the depths to which we have fallen in the 
past, but on the heights to which we are going to 
rise by God's grace in the future. We may look 
our sins fully in the face until they make us ashamed, 
but as soon as we are penitent God will offer a for- 
giveness which need only be accepted, and forgive- 
ness with God means that our sins are 'behind His 
back,' 'blotted out,' 'to be remembered no more for 
ever.' And if our sins have been put behind God's 
back they should be put behind ours also, leaving us 
free to go forward into the conquests of the future. 
The prayer in the Prayer Book, while beautifully 
expressed, is bad psychology, because it leaves more 
emphasis on the thought that we are 'miserable sin- 
ners,' and that there is 'no health in us,' than on the 
health of the soul which may be ours through the 
acceptance of forgiveness. When Jesus forgave 
people in the days of His flesh He sent them 
away in peace to a new future made possible 


by that forgiveness. 'Go in peace and sin no 

Let us look at some of the factors which conduce 
towards successful auto-suggestion in order that we 
may apply them in spiritual things. One of them 
seems almost beyond our power to change. I mean 
that strange quality which, for lack of a better word, 
we call suggestibility. This is a mental make-up 
which probably is unalterable. 1 It is the capacity 
of the mind to receive readily any idea submitted to 
it without too critical an examination. I have a 
friend who cannot unclasp her hands if I tell her 
she cannot, and who cannot remove her hand from 
a table until I give her permission if I first of all 
look into her eyes steadily and say in a confident 
voice, 'Your hand has stuck to the table: you can- 
not remove it,' even though she will express great 
contempt towards me for 'being so silly,' and will 
become angry at her own inability.* 

Further, an idea will go much more deeply into 
the mind, and be received by it if it is charged with 
an emotion. The greater the emotion the more 
deeply the idea seems to be implanted. That is the 
reason why a shock has such an effect on the per- 
sonality, especially a shock experienced in childhood. 
An idea charged with a high emotion like fear is, as 
it were, hurled into the mind while the mind is still 

1 It is temporarily alterable by fear. 

3 This illustrates the fact that an idea accepted by the uncon- 
scious mind functions more potently than the conscious will. 


soft and plastic, and that idea received into the 
unconscious mind may function there for the rest of 
natural life. 

But the factor which is most used in the practising 
of auto-suggestion is that of the repetition of the 
idea. Of course, we shall be aware that the whole 
art of advertising rests on the power of suggestion. 
If you go down a road every day on the way to the 
office and are informed by half a dozen placards that 
Beecham's Pills will do this or that, or that Kruschen 
Salts will give you a feeling of exhilaration, then it 
will not be many days before you will thoroughly 
receive and accept these ideas, and probably the 
medicines will do what you believe they will do. It 
is for this reason that Coue suggests to his disciples 
that they should repeat a score of times his formula, 
'Every day in every way I am getting better and 

The best condition for the receptivity of ideas is 
that in which the mind is quiescent, just before we 
go to sleep and just after we awake. In mentioning 
this factor it is not uninteresting to remember that 
our fathers and mothers were wiser psychologists 
than they knew when they told us to say our prayers 
night_and morning. Of these two periods probably 
the evening one is the more valuable, because if you 
give a thought to your mind the last thing at night 
it will work through the mind while you are sleep- 
ing and tend to become woven into the texture of 
the personality. We shall therefore see at once the 


danger of unclean thoughts night and morning. 'As 
a man thinketh in his heart so is he.' And no psy- 
chological advice could be more splendidly to the 
point than Paul's words, 'Whatsoever things are 
true, whatsoever things are honourable, whatsoever 
things are just, whatsoever things are pure, what- 
soever things are lovely, whatsoever things are 
of good report: if there be any virtue, and if 
there be any praise, keep on thinking on these 
things.' " ' "~* ""— 

It will be interesting to ask why it is that these 
times are most valuable for the use of auto-sugges- 
tion. The answer is that when the conscious mind 
is least operative then ideas have a better chance 
of reaching the deeper levels of the mind unhindered 
by conscious activity. I have made up a rough illus- 
tration in the hope that it will demonstrate this 
point. Imagine a glass half filled with water in 
which is a handkerchief thoroughly soaked and 
partly sticking up out of the water. Think of the 
mind as being the water, the unconscious mind as 
being the water in the bottom of the tumbler, and 
the conscious mind as being the water in the texture 
of the handkerchief above the level of the water in 
the glass. When sleep occurs the part above the 
water (the conscious) slowly sinks until it is sub- 
merged. When we waken the reverse process hap- 
pens. Now think of the handkerchief as partly 
pulled out of the water, and think of a lump of 
sugar as an idea. If the lump falls while a great 


part of the handkerchief is above the level of the 
water, the water will only become very slightly 
impregnated by the sugar. But if the sugar falls 
in the tumbler when there is little or no handker- 
chief above the level, then the water will be sweet- 
ened much more effectively. Thinking of the lump 
of sugar as an idea, it is thus demonstrated that 
the mind will become most permeated with that idea 
when the amount of conscious activity is the small- 
est. Indeed, the mind would become most perme- 
ated with the idea if there were no conscious activity 
at all, and here lies the value of hypnotism. 1 When 
the mind is quiescent there is freedom from the 
inhibiting associations of daily life. The uncon- 
scious mind accepts the idea, and the idea, if reason- 
able, then tends to become true. In times of day- 
dreams, as we call them, or brown-studies, conscious 
activity is so light that if an idea be introduced it 
has a better chance of functioning, for mal-associa- 
tions do not so readily operate in the unconscious 
as in the conscious mind. 

It will be noticed that the will does not play any 
part in the practice of auto-suggestion. As a matter 
of fact, the will is the greatest enemy of auto- 
suggestion. The will plays a great part in carrying 

1 The illustration breaks down in the case of normal sleep, in 
which state the mind, though unconsciously active, does not appear 
to accept readily new ideas. It seems to be necessary for there to 
be some rapport with the world of consciousness, though wonderful 
results have been achieved — in cases of nocturnal enuresis for 
instance — by making suggestions to a child just after he has fallen 


ideas out in conscious activity later on, and we 
should be very helpless without it, but in the practice 
of auto-suggestion it gets in the way and is one of 
the great causes of failure, just because its exercise 
makes the surface of the conscious mind greater 
than ever, and thus brings to consciousness inhibitive 
associated thoughts. Most of us remember child- 
hood's days well enough to recall that 'You can,' was 
much more potent than 'You must.' And for us all 
'I can,' is much more potent than 'I will.' A nervous 
debutante entering a ballroom for the first time will 
make more of a success if she says to herself, 'There 
is no reason to be nervous. I am perfectly well 
dressed and very fair to look upon; in fact, I look 
just as nice as any of the girls in the room,' than if, 
clenching her small fist over a damp handkerchief, 
she says vehemently, 'I will feel all right.' In the 
first case there is probably a welling up of an instinc- 
tive emotion from the depths of the unconscious, 
or, if not this, a subconscious realization of the fact 
that the will is relatively impotent unless it is fired 
by the imagination. There is a deep psychological 
law at work here, into which we need not now enter, 
which Coue once called 't he la w of xeyersed effort/^ 
and which he expressed in his own picturesque way 
by saying that the force of the imagination is in 
direct ratio to the square of the will, and that when 
the will and imagination are antagonistic it is the 
imagination that wins without any exception. To 
imagine yourself 'already being made capable of a 


task' is more potent than to will that you will 
become adequate for f£7~~ 

Look now more closely at the value of all this in 
religion. P^ere is a life made inefficient by hectic 
^ussiness and Ioss"of equanimity. There is no need 
to pray for peace as if it were something handed 
out by a reluctant and distant deity. There is no 
need to struggle for it by a great exertion of the 
will. What this spiritual patient needs is to accept 
the idea of the possession of peace with his whole 
mind. It is important, however, that he should 
know how to use the machinery of auto-suggestion. 
He must not say, 'I have got peace,' for the inner 
turmoil may be so great that associated ideas will 
be brought into consciousness and doubts will be 
raised which will kill the germ idea and indeed make 
it almost ludicrous for him to say, 'I have got it.' 
He is not to say, 'I shall have peace,' or even, 'God 
will give me peace.' For that puts the blessing of 
peace into the future, where it may always remain, 
and the seeker be robbed of present good. He is 
not to say, 'I am not going to be fussy any more.' 
That is a negative suggestion, and negative sugges- 
tions are always less potent than those which are 
positive. He is using the very word which describes 
his ill, and thus pressing the thought of it into the 
mind. He is to say, 'God is giving me His J3eace,' 
and this sentence it woin^Be^weTTto repeat again 
and again and again until it gets right into the depths 
of the mind, which we call the unconscious, which 



is the department which directs so many of our ener- 
gies and activities. This last fact is truer than we 
realize. When you go for a walk you do not think 
to yourself, 'Now I must remember how to walk. 
I must put one foot down and let that limb take 
my weight, and then put the other foot down, and 
so on.' The process of walking, once you have 
learned to walk, is directed by the unconscious mind. 
Yet, if that unconscious mind did not function prop- 
erly, you would never walk again. This is seen in 
the fact that certain injuries jto the brain^ which is 
the instrument of the~lnind, will Inean^ajgaralysjs 
of the legs, making all walking impossiBIe^ We need, 
therefore, to get any idea by which we mean to profit 
into the depths of the unconscious. 

Whatever our need is, whether it be purity, a 
good temper, a quiet heart, or a contented mind, we 
must affirm that God is giving it to us. It is very 
interesting to notice the language used in the twenty- 
third Psalm. The psalmist is not asking for gifts, 
but is realizing that they are already his. 'He mak- 
eth me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth 
me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul. 
He guideth or is guiding me in the paths of right- 
eousness for His name's sake.' This is far sounder 
than a prayer which runs, 'I pray Thee to deliver 
me from want and to guide me in the paths of 
righteousness.' Jesus is our Pattern here as else- 
where. How often men have cried in anguish, 'O 
God, hear me!' Listen to the difference in the calm 


confidence of Christ: 'Father, I thank Thee that 
Thou heardest Me, and I knew that Thou hearest 
Me always.' The same spirit will be noted in all 
the prayers of the Master. 1 

Now let me attempt to answer some objections 
which will be in the reader's mind if he has followed 
me so far. 1. Someone will say, 'So prayer is only 
auto-suggestion.' First of all, it will be remembered 
that prayer has other phases beside this. Prayer is 
adoration, confession, intercession, and so on, but 
even if you accept the description of one phase of 
prayer as being auto-suggestion, rather than say that 
prayer is only auto-suggestion, I would say that auto- 
suggestion is only prayer. In any kind of auto- 
suggestion there is an opening up of the personality 
to ideas, the strength of which is derived from God, 
though a good deal of auto-suggestion Is adm ittedly^ 
inarticulate prayer or prayer on_ a_ low_level, since 
it is not conscious co-operation with God. But when 
you have used the magic word 'auto-suggestion' it 
should not be supposed that by this the divine ele- 
ment is excluded. In a sense it is true to say that 
auto-suggestion is the name of the door through 
which God comes, or, if you like, the name of the 
mental mechanism which God uses. I would prefer 
to think of auto-suggestion as a way of receiving 
into the mind and soul ideas of strength, peace, 
purity, or whatever we need in such a way as that 
they may bear fruit. To refuse to use the method 

1 Cf. Christianity and Auto-Suggestion, p. 91. 


of auto-suggestion, now proved by psychologists to 
be of such inestimable value, and to say complacently, 
'the old method of prayer is quite sufficient for me,' 
is as unscientific and unchristian as to refuse to use 
some new medical or surgical method of dealing with 
a disease because it is 'new-fangled' and unfamiliar. 
2. The second objection is that auto-suggestion 
puts too much insistence on the personal pronoun 'I.' 
Coue's formula, 'Every day in every way I am get- 
ting better and better' has been criticized because 
of this emphasis on 'I.' Personally I agree to some 
extent that it would be far better to make auto- 
suggestions which were linked with the thought of 
God, and Paul's great sentence I have found of tre- 
mendous value, 'In Him that strengtheneth me I am 
able for anything.' But it should be remembered 
that even in Coue's formula the T to which the 
appeal is made is the deeper ego. It is the T always 
striving for betterment, and I do not think it would 
be an exaggeration to say that, although this is not 
expressed in Coue's teaching, it is the God within 
us to which we make appeal. If you say 'By the help 
of God I am getting better and better,' you have 
improved the language, but the power is the same. 
It would be impossible for the ego to do anything 
apart from the power of God. It is God at such a 
depth of our personality that we cannot distinguish 
between Himself and ourselves. It is allowing the 
God imprisoned within to rise up and function. It 
must be remembered that God is not only exterior 


to the self, but its inhabitant, and it is the God 
functioning within us that leads us to any desire or 
achievement. Christianity has always held the doc- 
trine of the Divine Immanence, and it is His spirit 
within us which in the first place gave us the 
machinery of the personality which we call the power 
of auto-suggestion and which leads us to desire 

Every virtue we possess, 

And every victory won, 
And every thought of holiness 

Are His alone. 

3. The third objection may be expressed as fol- 
lows : 'If I know myself to be impure and say, "God 
is making me pure," is not this a kind of self-decep- 
tion, or even contradiction?' The answer is 'No.' 
Faith is certainly involved to believe that the benefit 
is being received, but 'the very fact of praying for 
a spiritual quality is a sure proof that in some 
measure we possess it already. Prayer for a clean 
heart shows that in the depths of our being a con- 
cept of, and desire for, a clean heart have already 
formed; and what is a clean heart more than a 
passionate desire for cleanness? . . . It is obvious 
that we could not pray for good unless we were 
good already — at least in some degree. No evil 
man, as such, can sincerely pray for goodness. It 
is the goodness in him that prays.' * 

1 Christianity and Auto-Suggestion, by C. H. Brooks and Ernest 
Charles, p. 43. 


4. The fourth objection is that this process sounds 
too easy. Is not the Christian life one long fight, 
and does not St. Paul speak about it as such? If 
the reader will turn to Ephesians vi. 10-17, ne w ^ 
find two extraordinary things about St. Paul's great 
passage. The first is that the only aggressive 
weapon, the sword of the Spirit, is the Word of 
God, and that what we are committed to is a fight 
of faith. The only battle is with our own doubts 
that the mighty gifts of God are really ours for the 
taking. And Paul's other metaphors are extremely 
enlightening in that they express something done for 
us rather than anything we can achieve by our own 
effort. 'Men are to be reborn, raised from the dead, 
recreated, they are to pass from slavery to sonship, 
from darkness to light, from oppression to liberty.' 
They were not urged so much to decide for Christ, 
they were cJKDSjmby_Him, and what they accepted, 
as I have described in another place, 1 was the gift 
of friendship. It cannot be too emphatically asserted 
that the powers we need in our spiritual life are 
all gifts from God, and surely our reaction to a 
gift is not struggle and effort, but glad acceptance. 
If God did not want to give us these things, no 
amount of struggle on our part could wrest them 
out of His hands. If He is willing to give us them, 
no struggle is needed; they have simply to be taken. 
The wholejdea o£ autosuggestion is the persuading, 
of the mind to receive the Idea that the gifts "of God 

1 The Transforming Friendship, p. 25. 


are ours for the taking. He is more willing to give 
than we are to receive. He is round about us like 
the boundless sea, and if only we will lift the sluice- 
gate, then the great tides will sweep into the back- 
waters of the soul, cleansing, refreshing, and bring- 
ing new life to all the secret places of our personality. 
Let me conclude by relating one thing that has 
recently happened in my own room at Brunswick. 
I ought first to say that I have permission to tell this. 
A woman came a distance of some three or four 
hundred miles to see whether, as a last resource, 
I could do anything to help her. She had been to 
two Harley Street specialists and had found no 
relief. On more than one occasion she had contem- 
plated suicide, and her mind was in an exceedingly 
depressed state. She was unable to sleep, and was 
quite sure that she would never return to her work. 
She was obsessed by two fears, the fear of insanity 
and the fear that in utter hopelessness she would 
take her own life. When she saw me first she cer- 
tainly was in a very serious condition, but gradually 
the original cause of the trouble was analysed. In 
a sentence it was that she had done something which 
she thought could never be forgiven. For an hour 
a day over a period of a month the treatment con- 
sisted of getting her mind to accept ideas. First 
the idea of God's forgiveness; that when we are 
penitent He puts our sins behind His back for ever. 
When that at last was received into the mind, the 
next step was to get her to accept the view that 


God had a great purpose in her life in the future, 
that day by day His grace would prove sufficient, 
and that she could go back to life confidently, cour- 
ageously, and with a quiet heart. I remember one 
afternoon, as she lay with all muscles relaxed on a 
couch, I repeated over one hundred times this one 
sentence, 'In Him that strengtheneth you, you are 
able for anything.' To cut the story short, her very 
body picked up strength and her facial expression 
altered. She has no fears of insanity, no fear of 
taking her life. She sleeps normally and quietly. 
She has gone back to the same work which she 
believed she would never take up again, and is both 
a Sunday-school teacher and a junior class-leader. 
Letters have reached me since, both from her rela- 
tions and herself, testifying that she is §tilPwell, i - 
though one always hesitates at the wqrd/cure.' Let wvLK 
me add this. I am not relating thTTln^oTHer to -V ^JH« 
pretend to be able to do things which were beyond .(/" 

the power of two able men in Harley Street. Their Uv* ** 
ability is, of course, proved beyond all cavil. They n*fo ft. 
were approaching the case from a different angle. ^-jr^ 
Moreover, they did not ascertain all the facts. ^ I ^ 
am relating this to prove that in a trouble which ^fc^' 
begins in the mind, ideas can do more than bro- *{*** 
mides, more than a long sea voyage, and that tne ^^/JLj 
only remedy for a sick soul is the acceptance of Q/tfjuXf 
those great truths by which men live, and for the ,jlJ 
sake of whicTXKHst died. C«^*^ 

So in that aspect of prayer which leads us to ask Lp k^ 


from God those spiritual gifts we so need, like 
courage, peace of mind, purity, cheerfulness, forgive- 
ness, confidence, let us not supplicate with doubting 
minds and hearts for blessings we hardly expect to 
receive, but, looking up to our Heavenly Father who 
knows our need before we ask Him, let us take these 
things from His willing hands and go our way 
enriched and strengthened. 

I am sure that God's will for His children is a far 
fuller realization of all His gifts and an opening of 
the shutters of life to the glorious radiance of His 
spirit. The Dayspring from on High is there, if we 
would not shut Him out, to give light to them that 
sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to 
guide our feet into the way of peace. 

Up -fajoUn a^u*>k lit 




Mrs. Murray sat back in her chair in my interview- 
room. Her face was white and drawn. The kind 
grey eyes behind the spectacles were tired. A psy- 
chologist cannot afford to miss anything. To notice 
what is there to be seen may save him having to ask 
questions that embarrass his interviewer. He will 
notice not only face and form, carriage and poise, 
but the nervous playing of a finger, the interjection, 
the slip of the tongue, the involuntary gesture, 
whether eyes and lips mean terror or fear or shame 
or concealment or sorrow or self-pity. The way his 
hand has been gripped has told him something, so 
has the way a person sits in a chair, so has the flut- 
tering of the eyelids. Yet these things must not be 
blatantly noticed. If they are, fellowship may be 
destroyed and to establish fellowship is more vital 
than to notice outward signs. Let the light be soft 
and subdued rather than in the nature of a search- 
light. The minister is not an inquisitor but a fellow- 
sinner who believes that God can find a way out of 
difficulty for all His children. Mrs. Murray obvi- 



ously cared tremendously about the patient in whose 
interests she had come so far. And the interest 
could be understood, since the patient was her own 

It was not an unusual story. Dora was a bright, 
healthy girl in her early twenties. She lived at home. 
Until the last twelve months she had been radiantly 
happy. It was a joy to have her in the house. Every 
one liked her. She won friends everywhere. She 
had been engaged to a young dentist. He had good 
prospects. They were to have been married. Then 
he fell a victim to incurable disease. Marriage 
became impossible. She watched him die. She was 
deeply grieved, but seemed to be getting over it. 
She became engaged to a young business man. They 
loved each other deeply. Mrs. Murray was positive 
about that. And the man was all that could be 
desired. He was a member of the same Church. 
Every one spoke highly of him. His character was 
of outstanding worth. But during the last twelve 
months something had happened. Dora had been 
morose and sad. She had given way to fits of weep- 
ing. She had complained of insomnia. She had 
even 'wished she were dead.' The doctor had diag- 
nosed nervous breakdown and ordered fresh air 
and good food, and a thorough rest and complete 
change. Dora was even then at the seaside with a 
friend. Her lover could not understand it. He 
was looking forward to marriage. Dora, on the 
other hand, maintained she would never marry. 


When asked why, she said she was not worthy to be 
Gordon's wife. 

Of course, I said at once that I must have a chat 
with Dora. But Mrs. Murray said the doctor had 
said she was too ill to travel, and must on no account 
leave the seaside. I suggested what I thought might 
be the matter, but Mrs. Murray repudiated this 
with some warmth and expressed regret that I had 
mentioned it. And there the matter ended for some 
weeks. Then an urgent telephone call. Would I 
see Dora if she were brought to my rooms by car 
from the coast? Certainly I would. So the day 
came, and a very despondent and distressed girl sat 
in my room. I asked very few questions. I listened, 
and as I listened I knew that I was listening for half 
an hour to lies. But the time was not wasted. Ice 
was broken. Real confidence would be easier next 
time. Moreover I gained the important knowledge 
that Dora did not belong to the morbid type of those 
who love to think themselves ill in soul and body in 
order to centre attention on themselves, and who 
enjoy treatment more than they look forward to 
cure. In a day or two we arranged the second inter- 
view. Dora came with her father, who remained 
in another room. 'Now, Dora,' I said briskly and 
cheerfully, 'tell me the truth.' For one instant she 
faltered, then she said, 'I'm so glad you opened the 
subject like that. I've so hated myself for lying to 
you.' Then in uninterrupted jerks came the story 
which was exactly what I had suggested to her 


mother. Repeated sex indiscretions with the dentist 
leading to the fixed ideas that she had rendered her- 
self unfit morally for marriage with her present 
lover. The reader can imagine how the girl's mind 
had brooded over her mistakes, and how severe was 
the mental conflict raging, a conflict made more 
serious by the mother's frequently expressed belief 
in the girl's high character and by the belief of her 
lover in her. The seaside had done little, for if you 
take a troubled mind to the seaside and hope to be 
whole, the sea cannot wash you clean. 

The cure, of course, is not difficult. One could 
write a treatise on the therapeutic value of the 
received idea of forgiveness. The 'old gospel' is a 
very wonderful thing. Dora gradually received the 
idea. She promised to tell her lover all he ought 
to know. She also promised to begin again the very 
next morning on the slate which God had washed 
quite clean. She was no longer to look in, but out, 
not back to the failures of the past, but forward to 
the heights of the future. We finished the interveiw 
on our knees. I left her putting on her things and 
went to her father. 'Well, what do you make of 
it?' he asked. 'Dora has had something on her 
mind,' I said, 'but now it's all right and she is better.' 
'Do you mean she's better?' he asked incredulously. 
'Yes,' I said. 'Give her three days to pack her 
things and have a day with Gordon, and then she is 
coming home to you.' 'What's been the matter?' 
he asked. 'Well,' I said, 'that is not my business to 


tell, and if I were you I shouldn't ask. She'll tell 
you herself one of these days if she wants to.' 
'Well,' he said, 'it's a miracle.' And so it seemed, 
for in an incredibly short interval Dora, thought to 
be seriously ill and in danger of losing her reason, 
was her radiant happy self again, and still is. She 
is hoping to be married soon, and added to the scores 
in my files I have one more illustration of the fact 
that confession so brings past unforgiven sin up to 
the focus of consciousness that it can more readily 
be effaced and its morbid effects nullified by the for- 
giving grace of God. 

'Confess, therefore, your sins one to another, that 
ye may be healed,' says St. James, and we listen to 
his advice and, in the main, don't take it. Our 
Roman Catholic friends have spoilt the idea of con- 
fession for us by making it habitual when it ought 
to be occasional, by enforcing it when it ought to 
be spontaneous and voluntary, and by making it, or 
allowing it to be made, a substitute for real peni- 
tence, and thus bringing about a light and loose way 
of thinking about sin. And, further, sometimes, by 
asking such ill-advised and clumsy questions in order 
to wring a confession as to put worse ideas into 
minds than they have skill and ability to take from 
them. We must not deny the underlying truth in, 
and value of, an idea because some people have 
built a doubtful structure upon it. Moreover, it is 
generally safe to assume that if a practice which 
we think is erroneous is as widespread as is that of 


making confession, there is generally a true value 
in it. I would like in this chapter to broaden the 
definition of confession so that it includes not only 
the pouring out of our sins to another, but also of 
any trouble weighing upon the mind, such as fear, 
worry, sorrow, disappointment, and the like. I 
include all these factors because to limit confession 
to sin is not enough. In A Mind That Found Itself, 
Mr. C. W. Beers shows how the fear that epilepsy 
was infectious, and that he had caught it from an 
older brother, set up worry and conflict and strain 
to such an extent that, convinced his attacks were 
being concealed from him and that he had become 
an epileptic, he threw himself from an upper window 
in an unsuccessful attempt at self-destruction. The 
tragedy is that one sentence from almost any edu- 
cated person to whom Beers should have been able 
to go, would, at the beginning, have saved him 
from ten years' misery. With such a broad defi- 
nition of our subject, and regarded in a broad 
way, we may safely say that there is a great 
value, for the health of the soul, in occasional 

Some months ago a reader of the Methodist Mag- 
azine who had read some of my former articles 
applied to me for help. I think he will not mind my 
quoting some things about his case in an impersonal 
way. He had developed a serious nervousness when 
speaking, was extremely shy of meeting people, and 
when asked in the course of his work to interview 


others, was overwhelmed with confusion. Patient 
analytical inquiry showed that some years ago he 
had had a sex adventure of which he had come to 
be deeply ashamed. He had brooded over it, 
repressed it, and pushed it down into the depths of 
his mind. After he had poured out the whole story, 
concealing nothing, I spoke to him of the amazing 
forgiveness of God which helped us literally to 
begin again; of God's readiness, if we are truly peni- 
tent, to put our sins behind His back and remember 
them no more for ever. In time the man took hold 
of this great gospel of forgiveness, and now, his 
sins being forgiven, he can rise up and walk into 
any set of circumstances without a trace of nervous- 
ness, and he can look all men in the face. I offered 
him another appointment, but, as he said, it was 
quite unnecessary. He was cured. His very voice 
was steadier. It had lost its hesitancy. His face 
was shining. His manner was confident. I have 
heard from him since, and all is now well. 1 This 
man bears out the value of St. James's advice quoted 
at the beginning of this chapter. There must be 
thousands who will never be the master of their 
life as they might be, until they have bravely taken 
this treatment. 8 

Most ministers could parallel this with experi- 
ences of their own. Mr. Boreham, the famous Aus- 

1 Cf. Similar examples in McDougall's Outline of Abnormal 
Psychology, pp. 265-6. 

Cf. Mr. Hugh Walpole's Prelude to Adventure. 


tralian preacher, tells how he was once sitting by 
the fire reading to the members of his family when 
they were interrupted by the ringing of the front 
door bell. 'You are wanted. It's a young woman; 
she says she won't come in. I think she's crying.' 
Boreham went to the door. His visitor was stand- 
ing a few steps along the veranda out of the light 
of the lamp. At first she refused to come in, though 
it was a bleak and bitter night, and black as ink. 
Ultimately, after asking him to make sure the blinds 
had been drawn down, she slipped in furtively, like 
a hunted animal, threw herself into the study arm- 
chair, buried her face in her hands, and burst into 
a tempest of tears. When she could trust herself 
to speak, she poured out a story which, says Bore- 
ham, 'has been written sometimes very sternly, 
sometimes very tenderly, thousands of times since 
our little race began.' Before she went Boreham 
asked her, 'Why did you come to me? Have we 
met before?' 'No,' she said, 'but I just had to speak 
at last. I felt that I had kept it to myself long 
enough, and that unless I told it all to somebody I 
should lose my reason or die.' More simple still is 
the case of the neighbour who has come to her 
friend, and, as we say, 'had a good cry,' or a young 
fellow who has gone to some older man and 'told 
him all about it.' Sorrow or sin, fear or disappoint- 
ment, worry or grief, have been poured out and 
people have proved the truth of the old saying, 'A 
sorrow shared is a sorrow halved.' 


Let us look briefly at what happens. Many a 
man is trying earnestly to live a good life, yet the 
fact of past sin, unacknowledged, and, if one may 
use the word, festering deep down in his spiritual 
being, is poisoning his spiritual life and preventing 
his success. As this goes on, unremoved and 
unhealed, impulses towards good, though they still 
come to him, leave him where he was. He hesi- 
tates. He seems 'too bad.' He has a feeling that 
it is no good trying. He feels that God does not 
approve of his life, and that thought paralyses 
endeavour. His past mistakes get between him and 
God. They rise up like awful spectres. He broods 
over them, unable to rid himself of their burden. 
The best he can do is to make a compromise with 
life. In many cases not only spiritual efficiency is 
impaired, but also mental and even physical efficiency 
also. Nothing makes us so miserable as the feel- 
ing that past sin is getting in the way of real 
desire for God. Sometimes the sin is actually for- 
gotten, yet like some unknown internal abscess it 
continues to live in the depths of the unconscious, 
where it poisons the life and devitalizes the per- 

The psychologist calls this a case of repression. 
The victim has put all his sins in a box deep down 
under his heart and he is sitting on the lid. But 
he finds the box is not air-tight, and the musty smell 
of boxed-up sins poisons the very air his soul 


Put it another way and we may say that he has a 
mental boil. Instead of getting rid of the pus which 
it contains he puts sticking-plaster over it. He drives 
the poison in. The place may heal in a fashion, but 
the poison will make its presence felt in some other 
way, and in some other place. 

Sometimes there is little repression, but poignant 
memory. Look tenderly and with sympathy at the 
agony underlying the following letter, which I 
recently received: 

'Dear Sir, — Please excuse my writing to you, 
but I am in such trouble and distress and no one 
to speak to. To-day I am almost frantic with 
terror. I was reading an article about you in the 

called "A Doctor of Souls," and I have 

plucked up courage to write you. Twenty years 
and more ago I . . . There is also another sin 
in connexion with the first. I have regretted my 
sins deeply for many years, but during the past 
six months the horror and shame of the whole 
thing has come home to me with such force that 
I am a complete nervous wreck. My son and 
daughter, the best in the world, do everything for 
me, but they cannot cure an evil conscience. The 
thought of it all makes me shudder. Can there 
be any hope for me? I am getting old (57), and 
the thought of death and meeting God, the 
thought of how I have betrayed my trust in my 
children is driving me frantic. Please forgive me 
writing you, but if it is possible could you write 
to the enclosed address?' 


Confession is the pouring out from the soul of all 
its consciously repressed and hidden sins and poisons 
and burdens and griefs and sorrows. And it is a 
necessity for spiritual health. It is said that the sea 
has all its unrest on the surface and that underneath 
there is an unbroken calm. Many a man's life is 
the opposite. He preserves in the face of others 
a calm. But right underneath there is tumult. 
And what he needs more than anything is to 
get that tumult to the surface, where it can meet 
forces which will dispel it and bring the calm of 

Confession is for many the only way of getting 
back that lost sense of power. Unless sin is con- 
fessed it produces a brooding disposition character- 
ized by great depression ; by the paralysis of further 
effort; by the sense of hopelessness; the embodiment 
of all of which is Cain in the ancient story, who, 
after his crime, developed melancholia, and ended 
with the aimless, restless wanderings of the maniac. 
Suppressed sin, like suppressed steam, is dangerous. 
Confession is the safety-valve. To change the figure 
again, confession makes the skeleton in the cupboard 
no longer a thing to be feared, but a mere museum 
specimen. It must be remembered that many a man 
lies in a suicide's grave because he had no one to 
whom to open his heart when troubles fell thickly 
upon him. 

The support of men of letters to the thesis of 
this chapter is remarkable. 



Bacon says: 

This communicating of a man's self to his friend . . . 
cutteth grief in halfes. 1 

Tennsyson has these suggestive lines: 

Nor could I weary, heart or limb, 

When mighty Love would cleave in twain 
The lading of a single pain, 

And part it, giving half to him." 

Spenser has this line: 

He often finds present help who does his grief impart. 8 

And Shakespeare says: 

Give sorrow words: the grief that does not speak 
Whispers the o'er fraught heart and bids it break.* 

The poets as I have shown in another place s have 
a queer way of thinking of their poetry as a kind of 
confession to the world of thoughts that they cannot 
hold within their own breasts without a sense of 

Thus Wordsworth says, 

A timely utterance gave that thought relief. 

Byron says: 

Poetry is the lava of the imagination whose eruption pre- 
vents the earthquake. 

1 Essay, 27. * Macbeth, Act IV, Sc. 3. 

2 In Memoriam, 25. B The After-world of the Poets. 
* Faerie Queen, II, i, 46. 


Burns says: 

My passions raged like so many devils till they got vent in 

Goethe speaks 

of converting whatever rejoiced or worried or otherwise 
concerned me into a poem and so have done with it. 

Cardinal Newman says: 

Poetry is a means of relieving the overburdened mind; it 
is a channel through which emotion finds expression. 

Keble says: 

To innumerable persons (Poetry) acts as a safety-valve 
tending to preserve them from mental disease. 

The cumulative effect of these witnesses is surely 
very impressive. Most of us could not find it in 
poetry, but we must find it in some expression of 
words made to some other person. 

We pass on now to discuss whether confession 
should be made to man or to God. 

There cannot be any doubt that, ideally, confes- 
sion should be made to God. Jesus poured out the 
feelings of His heart in prayer to God and found 
relief and strength therein. But to Jesus, God was 
the most real Fact of His experience. We must be 
very frank and very practical here. God to very 
many people is unreal. It is so hard for them to 
realize that He is present, that to tell them to con- 


fess to God is to deprive them of the relief and 
recaptured power which confession brings. They 
will tell you that such attempts seem like 'talking 
to nothing' or like 'arguing with yourself upon your 
knees.' Their solitary search for forgiveness is not 
always successful. Generally it is not successful. 
They try to 'feel forgiven,' but it is a poor business, 
and the reason is that their confession has been a 
simulation, quite conscientious, but a simulation of 
the real experience. 

If confession to God seems unreal, I most strongly 
advise — because I have tried it — confession to man. 
The very difficulty of making confession to man and 
the emotions aroused, are purging influences on the 
soul. Man, if he be the right man, can make God 
real for you, and can persuade as to the authority 
and reality of the divine forgiveness. Even the 
Roman priest's declaration need not be as presumptu- 
ous as it sounds, for he only declares in words some- 
thing that has already happened, though there is a 
danger which I frankly recognize and to which we 
shall turn later. In effect, the priest's feeling should 
be, 'I am only a man, a servant of God, but if things 
are as you have just confessed, and you are truly 
penitent and hate the sin, and are determined to 
have done with it, then God forgives you here and 
now, and I, as His servant, declare that forgiveness 
to you.' 

The only value as a confessor that a priest or 
minister has superior to others, is that by his vows 


all confidences are inviolate and sacred, and that his 
whole training and experience qualify him for this 
type of work. By training he knows the workings 
of the human mind: he can help a person to dis- 
entangle motives: he can, by the grace of God and 
the simple rules of psycho-analysis, 

minister to a mind diseased, 
Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow, 
Raze out the written troubles of the brain. 
And with some sweet oblivious antidote 
Cleanse the stuffed bosom of that perilous stuff 
Which weighs upon the heart. 

And because of his experience he can extract advice 
for the troubled soul based on what has been helpful 
in other cases, in the same way as does the physician 
of the body. 

The Arabs have a very beautiful description of 
friendship. 'A friend,' they say, 'is one to whom 
one may pour out all the content of one's heart, 
chaff and grain together, knowing that the gentlest 
of hands will take and sift it, keep what is worth 
keeping, and with the breath of kindness blow the 
rest away.' Many a fireside has become a perfect 
confessional. Friend has poured out to friend all 
that worried and perplexed, and has found relief 
and strength again. In many a home a son feels 
that he can 'confess' to his father, the daughter to 
her mother, or quite often the son to his mother, 
the daughter to her father. Yet in saying this let 
me add that I regard it as no disparagement of the 


home if son and daughter feel that they can more 
easily go to their minister than to their parents. 
Many young people from ideal homes have confided 
to me troubles of which their parents are entirely 
ignorant. This is partly because young people feel 
that the minister 'will understand,' and partly because 
for all of us it is embarrassing and difficult to live 
in daily contact with a person to whom we have 
opened our inmost mind and heart. It must be 
said definitely that the true minister feels it part 
of his job to be such a physician of the soul as is 
implied. Some people hesitate here because they 
think a minister is easily shocked. They little real- 
ize that he probably sees more in one month of the 
seamy side of things calculated to 'shock' than most 
people do in twelve. He should be very tender, very 
sympathetic, able to listen in that way which helps 
nervous and timid people through what is always 
a difficult task, yet not eager as one who would 
desire confidence, but as one who only wants to know 
that which it will help people to confess. He should 
realize that a man or woman who desires to open 
mind or heart is in a state of extreme tension, that 
long and anxious thought lies behind the decision 
to come to him at all, that the slightest interruption 
or the slightest mishandling of the situation will 
seal the lips so that the good which might be done 
becomes impossible, and that if a mistake is made it 
is very unlikely that the sufferer will ever come again. 
I have read of a girl who tried to consult her min- 


ister as to whether a career on the stage was com- 
patible with a loyal Christian life, and because he 
was 'so busy' and then 'so shocked' she missed the 
way. I think the minister should always feel that 
he is in no superior position as a priest with exter- 
nally given powers and a kind of official authority. 
His authority should depend on his character and 
personality. Such an authority all men will readily 
grant him. He should not desire more. That which 
gives him his position is the confidence of the person 
he seeks to help. He is only a friend seeking to do 
a friendly thing; a physician seeking to link a sufferer 
with the healing power of God; a shepherd lifting a 
sheep, caught in some thorny place, back onto the 
path again. By his vows a minister is bound to 
regard a confidence as inviolably sacred. By his 
experience he has dealt with hundreds of similar 
cases, and by his training he knows the right kind 
of advice to give, for every true minister is a doctor 
of souls. 'Probably some of us,' writes Miss Muriel 
Harris, 'know in our own experience the relief of 
having our sins dealt with plainly, as sins, by some- 
one who understands and is not shocked. We hate 
impertinent questions, but, on the other hand, we 
are likely to lose any respect we have for a friend 
if he is afraid, when the supreme moment comes, 
to deal honestly with us. If, like Christ, he is a 
true friend, then his touch will bring healing and 
not harm.' A Quaker patient of mine, in a remark- 
able letter to The Friend (February 8, 1929), 


reveals her sense of the place and value of confes- 
sion in the religious life. With her permission, I 
quote part of the letter: 

'I gladly recognize that there are happy souls 
who have lived in the consciousness of God's 
Presence all their lives. For these it is easy, when 
they occasionally displease Him, to return at once, 
tell Him they are sorry, and claim His forgive- 
ness. But others, of whom I am one, have had 
His Face hidden from us by the clouds of our 
own sin. In this state no amount of praying 
seems of any use, because we cannot realize that 
God is there to hear. This condition of mind 
paralyses all effort, incapacitates for service, and 
may lead to physical, mental, or moral breakdown. 

'But souls burdened in this way can find relief 
by "exteriorizing their rottenness," to borrow a 
phrase from William James. They must be will- 
ing to acknowledge all the wrong things they have 
done, and tell them freely to some human friend. 
In this case the friend acts as God's representa- 
tive, for God wants not only lips consecrated to 
His service, but ears as well. "Confess, there- 
fore, your sins one to another, and pray one for 
another, that ye may be healed," says St. James. 
The friend who hears the confession may help 
still further by praying for the penitent one and 
by giving wise counsel. 

'Is not this a ministry which some Friends are 
called upon to undertake more systematically? It 
demands a life consecrated to God, understanding 
of and sympathy with human nature, and if pos- 


sible some knowledge of psychology. But a 
peculiar problem for the Society of Friends lies in 
the difficulty of bringing together the one who 
needs to confess sins and the one who is qualified to 
receive a confession and to help the sinner. I do 
not know how this problem can be solved, but it 
is a formidable one. Those whose consciences are 
troubled need much tactful encouragement before 
they will talk over their difficulties, and they also 
need opportunities to see their helper alone when 
they are ready for a talk. Some in the Society 
of Friends have found the difficulties insurmount- 
able and have gone for help to a Catholic priest, 
or to some Nonconformist minister who sets apart 
definite times for private interviews, or to a 

Let me summarize my conclusion. Confession is 
to be spontaneous, not an habitual thing. It is like 
castor oil, to be taken when needed. It is not to be 
regarded as a part of the normal diet. There is no 
man so sickly as the man who becomes morbidly 
introspective by constantly dwelling on his sins and 
taking out his spiritual 'innards,' looking at them, 
and showing them to others. He is as abnormal as 
the man who drinks a bottle of castor oil a day. 
We should not confess the same fall twice, lest 
dwelling on it forms a false auto-suggestion con- 
cerning it in the mind, reminding us unduly of its 
power. It is not for nothing that the Roman Cath- 
olics have made it a sacrament. It is a sacred thing, 
and should be treated so. 


Another danger is that confession should be sepa- 
rated from penitence and be regarded as an escape 
from sin without deep and true sorrow for it, and 
determination to have done with it. Confession by 
itself does not make a sin less, nor expunge it from 
God's record; such confession is a trading on the 
eternal, loving patience of God, constituting in itself 
a sin. Moreover, it leads people to suppose that 
forgiveness has taken place when really nothing has 
happened. Too glibly we conclude that to confess 
a fault is to make atonement for it and have done 
with it. 

Finally we must remember that when we confess 
to a friend all he can do is to put us in touch with 
God, who alone cleanseth the heart. The absolu- 
tion in the Prayer Book makes this clear. 'He par- 
doneth and absolveth all them that truly repent . . . ' 
Only God can do that for us. But man may show 
us the path that leads to the foot of the Cross, and 
Christian's experience may be every man's experi- 
ence. 'So I saw in my dream that just as Christian 
came up with the Cross, his burden loosed from off 
his shoulders, and fell from off his back, and began 
to tumble, and so continued to do till it came to the 
mouth of the speulchre, where it fell in, AND I SAW 




A man may carry out an action believing that he is 
doing it from one motive, when the power which is 
the really dynamic enabling him to carry it out comes 
from another. This other motive may be semi- 
conscious, subconscious, or even unconscious. Thus 
a man may even be doing work in the Church believ- 
ing that his motive is altruistic and disinterested, but 
the driving power behind his service may be a desire 
to satisfy his instinct for self-display. A man may 
give money to a fund because he believes in the fund 
and wants to help it, or it may be that he wants to 
see his name high up on the subscription list. A girl 
may stay at home 'to look after mother,' or because 
she is too big a baby to face up to any bigger demand 
in life. A person may read books, or see plays, or 
look at pictures from the motive of art, or it may 
be to satisfy some perverted and unclean curiosity. 
Or in each of the cases that I have mentioned both 
motives may play a part. 

In psycho-analysis a patient often finds, to his sur- 



prise and sometimes to his horror, that for a long 
time he has believed himself actuated by perfectly 
pure motives, only to discover lower motives as the 
real dynamic of his activity. For instance, a man 
doing work in the slums finds that the real dynamic 
of his activity was a desire frustrated in his own 
set, but realized among the very poor, to be some- 
body. Spurned in his own set, he was looked up to 
by the poor, and thus he satisfied his own instinct 
for self-display. A girl, who had a great reputation 
for unselfishness, discovered on analysis that she 
took to being unselfish because only in this way could 
she secure praise and admiration, for which she had 
an abnormal desire. Without any gifts that would 
bring her into the centre of interest, her desire was 
satisfied by becoming unselfish, or, rather, by hear- 
ing people comment on her actions, saying, 'How 
unselfish V 

'Some people,' as Miss Coster says, 'are afraid to 
face their own characters, and live in unconscious 
dread of having to admit that their highest motives 
are second rate, and their lives selfish and self- 
seeking. It is usually the "good" people in this 
world who suffer most from that terror. In point 
of fact, pure philanthropy is practically non-existent 
at our present stage of evolution. We are kind, 
generous, unselfish, sympathetic, and public spirited 
largely because it suits us and satisfies our craving 
for self-approbation to be so.' * 

1 Psycho-analysis for Normal People, p. no. 


This is rather too severe and sounds as though 
one is rather taking a delight in imputing low motives 
to everybody. It will be valuable to use Dr. Had- 
field's clever distinction between the initial motive 
and the end motive. 1 For instance, if a man breaks 
into a house and steals my silver, is his motive theft, 
or is his motive avarice? The initial motive is ava- 
rice, the end motive is theft. But the dynamic of his 
activity is avarice, not theft. So we sometimes think 
of a man's motive as the good of his fellows, or 
the service of his country. These are end motives, 
but the initial motive, the power that drives him 
to do all these things, would be more correctly called 
his instinct for display or the herd instinct respec- 
tively. The distinction can be seen in the story of 
the little girl who was reproved by her mother for 
biting her brother's nose. The mother said, 'It must 
have been the devil that put such an idea into your 
mind.' 'No,' the little girl said, 'the devil made me 
angry, but biting his nose was entirely my own 
idea.' 2 

Behind every action lies an instinctive impulse 
which the self desires to gratify. When that impulse 
is accepted by the self as satisfying we call it a 
motive. Dr. Hadfield, then, defines motive as fol- 
lows: 'The motive is a desire directed towards an 
end approved by the self.' Some people emphasize 
the end motive and some the initial motive, or, as I 
should prefer to call them, the surface motive and 

1 Psychology and Morals, p. 172. 2 Op. cit, p. 172. 


the dynamic motive, but self knowledge must include 
both, and what is most easily overlooked is the 
dynamic motive which is generally derived from the 
instincts. It is the dynamic motive which the psy- 
chologist looks for, because it always tells him more 
about his patient than the surface motive. Yet if 
we discover that our dynamic motive is not as noble 
as we thought, we must not disparage ourselves, 
or other people, as long as the end to which it is 
directed is a noble end. Thus a lady whose life was 
devoted to rescue work among 'fallen girls' believed 
that she was impelled to do this by the highest 
motive, the well-being of her fellow creatures. This 
certainly was the end motive, but the initial motive, 
and by far the more powerful dynamic, was sexual 
curiosity. How wrong and unwise, however, it 
would be to say that, since her motive was what we 
have described, she ought to give up her work. If 
she gave up her work, the energy from the sex 
instinct would find an outlet somehow, and probably 
in a way less helpful to the world and to herself. 
What she must do is to continue her work, but 
frankly realize where the driving power comes from, 
and never engage in her work merely to satisfy a 
doubtful curiosity, but always direct it to its truly 
noble end. She must go on with her work, certainly, 
but knowledge is a real gain. First of all she will 
be saved from hypocrisy. Second, she knows that 
she is finding an outlet for the most dangerous 
instinct we possess, which, recognized, is always 


more healthily dealt with. Thirdly, recognition 
means ability to control. And, fourthly, she will be 
able to sympathize with, and thus to help more truly, 
the 'fallen girls' amongst whom she works, when she 
realizes that the instinct which led to their fall and 
the instinct which led her into this work are one and 
the same. 'In judging our motives everything 
depends on the kind of end which arouses our 
instincts . . . the end determines the quality of 
the act, whether it is selfish or altruistic ... so 
long as the pleasurable impulse is directed towards 
the service of others it is altruistic; as soon as the 
gratification of the instinct becomes itself the end 
motive as well as the motive force it becomes selfish. 
For an action to be altruistic it must be consciously 
directed towards the service of others.' * So if we 
discover suddenly a motive which has been uncon- 
scious, say to be admired by others, the health of the 
soul demands that we shall gratify it in service to 
others. If an unconscious motive is suddenly made 
conscious to us, by which we see that self importance 
or self display is the driving power in some of 
our activities, let us use it to make ourselves 
efficient at our job, for efficiency in service is 

T read in a psychology book once,' says Mr. H. H. 
Farmer in the best book of sermons I have read for 
many a day, 8 'that one reason which almost certainly 
takes men into the ministry is that unconsciously they 

1 Psychology and Morals, p. 176. 2 Things Not Seen, pp. 176-7. 


want to find a platform on which to strut and exhibit 
themselves to the public. I am not going to discuss 
whether that is so or not. The point I want to make 
is this, that it does not matter two straws if a desire 
to be in the limelight is one of the motives, provided 
there is also a genuine affection for Jesus Christ and 
an eager desire to serve Him. And that there is 
likely to have been such an affection and desire mixed 
up in the baser instinct is shown by the fact that the 
ministry was chosen and not (say) the stage or poli- 
tics. A man may begin doing a right thing from a 
partially wrong motive, and the sheer pressure of 
life and the development of his best self, which had 
never been entirely absent, will in time cast the 
wrong motives out.' 

The part this unconscious motive plays is very 
romantic, very revealing, and often very amusing. 
It gives us a wonderful insight into the human mind, 
and it is hoped that the contemplation of the case 
about to be described may help us to gain some 
insight into our own mental processes. 

One of the methods of psycho-analysis is called 
the method of word association. The psychologist 
gives a person a list of words one after another 
called stimulus words, and instructs him, when he 
hears a word, to give, as soon as he can, the first 
word which occurs to his mind. This word is called 
the reaction word. The time which elapses between 
the stimulus word and his reaction word is noted. 
By observing the nature of the reaction word a good 


idea of the unconscious processes of the patient's 
mind can be arrived at. Even if the patient endeav- 
ours to deceive the analyst by substituting another 
word instead of the word that comes first to his mind, 
the reaction time will indicate which stimulus words 
are significant. The patient from whom the follow- 
ing record was taken by Jung had determined during 
a recent depression to drown himself. Note the reac- 
tion time, and the words italicized. 



Reaction time 



in seconds. 



















































Can swim. 


A child's unconscious life can often be most inter- 
estingly detected by asking him to write an essay on, 
say, 'The Life of a Shilling.' He will symbolically 
represent the shilling as facing the fears and under- 
going the adventures concerning which he has him- 
self repressed feelings, and such an essay to the 
skilled interpreter is often most revealing in indicat- 


ing what a child is facing and at what points he may 
be helped. 1 

Life is much more meaningful than most of us 
imagine, and there is a motive, often unconscious, in 
everything we do. For instance, if I say to some- 
body, 'Think of a number,' he might imagine that his 
choice of a number was purely arbitrary. Nothing 
is arbitrary. The world — including the world of 
mind — is either governed by law or it is not. If it 
is not, then chaos reigns. If it is, then law operates 
throughout. It is inconceivable that law directs 
some happenings and that others are arbitrary. I 
recently had a very amusing illustration of this. A 
man frankly denied that if he thought of a number 
there was any reason for his thinking of it, and I 
admit that one cannot always discover a reason, but 
there is a reason. I challenged this friend to think 
of a number, upon which he immediately said, with- 
out any hesitation, seventy-six. I admit that I was 
very, very lucky in hitting on it. I said, 'What have 
you been doing this afternoon?' He said, 'Conduct- 
ing a funeral.' 'What was the age of the person 
who died?' He said, 'I don't know. I don't always 
read the inscription on the coffin.' 'Well, was it a 
man or a woman?' He said, 'A man.' 'A young 
man or an old man?' He said, 'An old man.' I 
afterwards telephoned to the undertaker and said, 
'What was the age of the man Mr. So-and-So buried 
this afternoon?' He said, 'Seventy-six.' My 

1 Cf. Baudouin, Studies in Psycho-analysis, p. 142. 


friend's mind had unconsciously registered the figure 
on the coffin, or in the register that he signed at the 
cemetery office, and that was the number which came 
first into his mind. 

Dr. Ernest Jones, of Harley Street, gives another 
interesting example. When a friend of his was 
asked to think of a number he said at once, nine 
hundred and eighty-six, and he defied Dr. Jones to 
connect it with anything of interest in his mind. The 
doctor and his friend were sitting in front of a par- 
ticularly hot fire, from which the friend had recently 
drawn back, stating that it was too hot. The doctor 
was also lucky in hitting on it for he said to his friend 
casually, 'Are you feeling the heat?' The friend 
said, 'Yes, that is why I drew back my chair.' The 
doctor said, 'Does the heat remind you of any- 
thing?' 'Yes,' the friend said, 'it reminds me that 
the last time I was as hot as this was a hot day 
abroad last summer.' 'Oh!' said the doctor jubi- 
lantly, 'do you remember the temperature?' 'Yes,' 
the friend said, 'it said in the paper that the ther- 
mometer went up to 98.6.' Hence the number nine 
hundred and eighty-six. Two of my friends, meet- 
ing for a committee at Didsbury College, were once 
discussing and ridiculing this point, having been 
stimulated to do so by an article of mine in The 
Methodist Magazine. One of them, a distinguished 
doctor of divinity, I will call M. The other, a 
professor in a theological college, I will call B. 'It 
is quite possible to think of a number without any 


reason at all,' said B. 'Now, M, you think of a 
number.' 'Ninety-nine,' said M promptly. 'Ah,' 
said B, 'now I will psycho-analyse you. You have 
been thinking of John Brown's knapsack, or you 
have had your chest examined by a doctor lately, and 
that explains it.' M was thoughtful for a moment, 
and then he sat forward and said quietly, 'There is 
more in this than I supposed, B. We are sitting in 
Didsbury College, and I came here as a student 
in '99.' 

Similarly, if I put before you a drawer of wools 
of different colours and said, 'Choose your colour,' 
you might argue that there was no reason in the 
world why you should choose green, or mauve. The 
psychologist holds that there is a reason, though 
you may not be able to dig out what it is, just as 
there is some reason why I wrote 'green' and 'mauve' 
above. As a matter of fact they are my favourite 
colours. Both our love of colour and dislike of a 
colour have a motive. I read somewhere of a man 
whose wife had the dining-room decorated with a 
red wallpaper. Her husband was furious. When 
asked if he objected to the colour, he admitted that 
it was a pretty colour, but said, with something of 
ferocity, that he wasn't going to have any room in 
his house papered red. Asked for his reasons, he 
said he had no reason, but he wouldn't have red 
wallpaper. A psychologist friend was not long in 
spotting the reason. When at school this hater of 
red wallpaper was a particularly obstreperous boy. 


He therefore made a number of pilgrimages to the 
headmaster's study for a painful proceeding which 
need not be indicated. The headmaster's study was 
papered in red. 

A friend of mine was recently playing up at the 
net in a game of tennis, when playing too near the 
centre, he allowed his opponent to put a ball over 
near the side-line out of his reach, and so fast that 
his partner could not get to it. As he moved across 
the court to allow his partner to continue his service, 
he found himself humming as follows, 

Why should he hum this line ? Why, of all tunes, 
should this come to his mind? Most people, if they 
thought of it at all, would regard it as entirely arbi- 
trary. But the first line of the fourth verse of this 
well-known hymn, 'Soldiers of Christ, arise,' gives 
us the solution at once. It runs : 

Leave no unguarded place. 

I have in my possession a letter from Professor 
Freud, of Vienna, giving me permission to make any 
use I like of any of his writings. In his book The 
Psycho-Pathology of Everyday Life there are quite 
a number of splendid illustrations of conduct uncon- 
sciously motivated. Professor Freud was writing 
the history of one of his patients for publication, and 


wondered what name to give her in order to dis- 
guise her. It would seem that there would be an 
immense selection of names from which he could 
choose, but he found at once that only one name 
sprang into his mind, the name of Dora. He at 
once practised a little psycho-analysis. Why had he 
thought of the name Dora? The first Dora he 
thought of then was a nurse of his sister's children. 
Why should he think of her? Then an incident of 
a previous evening threw light on it. On his sister's 
dining-room table he had noticed a letter, which 
had come by post, bearing the address, 'Miss Rosa 
Whiting.' Picking up the letter, he said, 'Whose is 
this?' His sister said, 'Oh, that's for nurse.' 'Oh,' 
he said, 'I thought her name was Dora.' 'No,' his 
sister said, 'it's Rosa, the same as mine, but we call 
her Dora so as to prevent confusion.' Professor 
Freud had then said, 'Poor girl, she can't even keep 
her own name.' Then the reason for his subsequent 
immediate seizure of the name Dora became obvi- 
ous. He wanted a name to describe a patient who 
could not retain her own name. Most of us would 
not bother, of course, to analyse choices like this, 
preferring to say, 'Oh, I just thought of it,' but 
there is a reason why we thought of it. 

As there is an unconscious motive in our choice 
of a number, a colour, or a name, there is often an 
unconscious motive in our forgetfulness. I find that 
I often forget where a bill is. I rarely forget where 
a cheque is. Although I am a great sinner in the 


forgetting of names, and therefore am loth to believe 
that it is a rule without exception, we shall find that 
if we dislike a person we tend more easily to forget 
his name. 'What is the fellow's name?' we say 
impatiently. 1 Jung quotes an interesting case of this 
in his book The Psychology of Dementia Precox. 
Mr. Y falls in love with a lady who soon afterwards 
marries Mr. X. In spite of the fact that Mr. Y was 
an old acquaintance of Mr. X and had business rela- 
tions with him, he repeatedly forgot his name, and 
on a number of occasions, when compelled in the 
course of business to correspond with him, he was 
obliged to ask other people the name of his former 
friend. 2 An interesting example of name-forgetting 
came my way recently. I was lecturing on psychol- 
ogy in Liverpool, and a discussion followed the lec- 
ture. The organizer of the meeting who had writ- 
ten inviting me to speak challenged my statement 
that the reason we forget names was sometimes that 
we disliked the bearer of the name or had some 
repressed hostility against him or unpleasant asso- 
ciative links with him. My challenger asserted that 
on entering the hall he had been compelled to ask 
the attendant at the door who the speaker was, and 
that on taking his seat he again found, to his cha- 

1 There is another and a humiliating reason why a person for- 
gets names. It is due to a growing conceit and an unconscious 
attitude that there is only one name that matters — namely, that of 
the forgetter ! 

2 Cf. the Scarlet Pimpernel's supposed inability to recall the 
name of Monsieur Chauvelin. 


grin, that he had forgotten my name. He asserted 
that 'liking' was irrelevant. Not knowing me, he 
neither liked me nor disliked me. My questions as 
to whether I reminded him of any one he disliked 
brought a negative reply. Desiring then to ask him 
more intimate questions I waited till after the dis- 
cussion had ended, v and then saw him privately. 
'Whom do you dislike most in the world?' I asked. 
'My boss,' was the prompt reply. 'Why?' 'Because, 
when he has got a complaint to make, instead of 
making it to me directly, he sends me a typewritten 
letter signed in his ridiculous green ink.' It only 
requires me to explain that I habitually use green 
ink, having bought a quart of it in a sale in India 
and being too Scotch to throw it away, and the 
explanation of the amnesia is clear. In our cor- 
respondence arranging the meeting he had received 
from me a letter typed by my secretary and signed 
by myself in green ink, and at once, unconsciously, 
I became a sharer in the dislike attached in his mind 
to authors of typewritten letters signed in green ink. 
Thus he forgot my name. There is a reason for 
all our forgetfulness could we but find it. A man 
whose brother had recently died wished to recite a 
familiar poem which he could recite with the great- 
est ease up to the time of his brother's death. Sub- 
sequent to his brother's death, however, he always 
stuck at a line which included the words 'with the 
white sheet.' When asked for the thoughts that 
came into his mind when the words 'white sheet' 


were used, he said, 'The white sheet makes one think 
of a white sheet on a corpse — a linen sheet with 
which one covers a dead body. (Pause.) Now I 
am thinking of a near friend, his brother died quite 
recently; he is supposed to have died of heart dis- 
ease. He was also very corpulent. (Pause.) My 
friend is corpulent, too, and I thought he might meet 
the same fate. Probably he doesn't exercise enough. 
(Pause.) When I heard of his death I became 
frightened that the same thing might happen to me. 
My own family is predisposed to obesity. (Pause.) 
My grandfather died of heart disease. I am rather 
corpulent. (Pause.) I began an obesity cure a few 
days ago.' 

A friend of mine who was the lady principal of a 
well-known University College, told me how one of 
her most brilliant students, who greatly disliked 
mathematics, 'forgot' to turn up at the examination 
hall on the morning when the paper in mathematics 
had to be taken. Through this amnesia she failed 
the examination, and arranged to sit the following 
year. To the horror of the principal, she did the 
very same thing the following year. 

Given that the impressions of two happenings on 
the mind are of equal depth, it is the tendency of 
the mind to forget that which is unpleasant. When 
I think of India I think of the attractive manhood 
of some young Indian students, of bathes in the sea 
in the moonlight, of the tennis parties in the garden, 
the glory of tropical vegetation, the thrill of colour 


and intoxication of Eastern life, not to mention the 
cheapness of cigars. I don't nearly so readily recall 
the pestilential mosquito, the frightful heat, the sap- 
ping effect of the climate on one's vitality, and the 
misery of the monsoon. Here forgetfulness is 

In Darwin's autobiography the following passage 
occurs : 

'I had during many years followed a golden 
rule, namely, that whenever a published fact, a 
new observation or thought, came across me which 
was opposed to my general results, to make a 
memorandum of it without fail, and at once; for 
I had found by experience that such facts and 
thoughts were far more apt to escape from the 
memory than favourable ones.' 

Professor 'Rabbi' Duncan was known to go 
upstairs for the purpose of changing into evening 
dress to attend a greatly disliked social function. 
After some time had elapsed his wife called him, 
and in vain. Going into the bedroom, she found 
the Professor in bed. Disliking the thought of 
changing, the action of taking off his coat and waist- 
coat had stimulated the mental energy connected 
with the habit of going to bed, and the action com- 
pleted itself, and the engagement was 'forgotten.' 

Dr. Ernest Jones noticed that he was in the habit 
of mislaying his pipe whenever he suffered from the 
effects of over-smoking. And many golfers have 


noticed how hard some of their opponents ( ! ) find it 
to remember how many strokes they have played. 
Lovers know the same thing. If a lover has been 
late in meeting his girl and says by way of excuse 
that he has forgotten the time of the rendezvous, the 
retort may be expected, 'You wouldn't have forgot- 
ten twelve months ago.' 

As there is romance in this forgetting, there is also 
romance in the little slips of the tongue and of the 
pen. Probably most of them are due to unconscious 
mental activity. This was particularly illustrated in 
the way in which the President of the Austrian House 
of Deputies opened the session some time ago. It is 
reported that having made his speech, he said, 'I 
now declare the session closed.' Of course he said 
at once that he was very sorry, he meant to say 
'open,' but probably the unconscious idea in his mind 
was that now he had made his speech it didn't mat- 
ter how soon it was closed. 

Similarly unconsciously motivated was the slip 
made by the clerical chairman of a minister's frater- 
nal, who in introducing a famous preacher who had 
consented to give an address, said, 'Now we see the 
man whose sermons we have all preached, I mean 
read.' Dr. Stekel was treating two patients from 
Trieste. The name of one was Peloni, the other 
was called Askoli, both of them were very distin- 
guished gentlemen. The doctor always said, 'Good 
morning, Mr. Peloni' to Askoli, and 'Good morning, 
Mr. Askoli' to Peloni. The real reason was the 


unconscious motive to inform Mr. Peloni that Mr. 
Askoli was a patient of his, and to inform Mr. 
Askoli that he needn't think he was the only distin- 
guished patient from Trieste to seek the doctor's 
advice. 1 

We may conclude that every time we commit a 
mistake in speaking or writing there is, in some 
mental process of which we may be unaware, a dis- 
turbance which is behind our intention. 

There is also romance in certain actions which 
generally have behind them an unconscious motive. 
Thus McDougall tells of a man who always insisted 
on sitting with his back to the wall because as a boy 
he had been grabbed from behind by a grocer who 
discovered him stealing peanuts; and of a girl who 
always avoided a striking clock because when a child 
of fifteen she waited in the vicinity of a striking 
clock while her mother underwent an operation 
which proved fatal. 2 You may catch yourself out 
in this way. If you are destroying a number of 
letters, you will destroy those from people you dis- 
like with far more vim than those from people you 
like. A servant will far more easily break some- 
thing which causes her a good deal of work than 
something that saves her work. Her tendency to 
break things of value ('It came in two in my 'ands 
mum') may sometimes be due to an unconscious 
resentment that her mistress should possess them. 

1 Op. cit., p. 89. 

8 Outline of Abnormal Psychology, p. 306. 


This is especially true of a maid who comes from a 
very poor home. 

More than we ever guess our actions are sympto- 
matic of our unconscious thoughts. The unconscious 
motive plays a greater part than many of us dream, 
and probably colours the motives on which we pride 
ourselves. The apparently undetermined choice of 
a number or colour or name, the trifling forgettings, 
the slips of tongue and pen, often the very twitch- 
ings of the body, especially the fingers, all have a 
cause, a meaning, and a significance. It will help 
us to know ourselves to trace them back to their 
source as far as we may. And self-knowledge is 
power. 'The idle word,' says Dr. T. R. Glover, 1 
'is to condemn a man, not because it is idle but 
because, being unstudied, it speaks of his heart and 
reveals, unconsciously but plainly, what he is in real- 
ity' (Matt. xii. 36). At the same time, let us be 
wary of watching other people for such slips and 
making hasty and ill-founded judgements on their 
inner character and life. We shall rarely know 
enough to form a sound judgement, unless indeed 
they seek our help and ask us to assist them to put 
their finger on some inward evil which may be 
poisoning their lives. In such a case, symptomatic 
slips like those I have described would form a useful 
part of the evidence which would lead a psychologi- 
cal investigator to a conclusion regarding the nature 

1 Jesus of History, p. 162. Cf. also Dr. Orchard, The Idle Word, 
p. 102. Kings Weigh House Pulpit, 1921-2. 


of such evil. For ordinary life it is a good maxim 
that, if tempted to self-conceit, we should face the 
worst in regard to our own motives, but in regard 
to those of others put them at their highest and give 
to all men credit for the best. 

Let each man learn to know himself, 
To gain that knowledge let him labour. 

Correct those failings in himself, 

Which he condemns so in his neighbour. 



It will seem strange to many that there can be any 
connexion between hypnotism and religion, for hyp- 
notism is regarded in so many quarters as suspect. 
Men still shrink from it as from one of the black 
arts. This is not to be wondered at when one knows 
its history. It has been exploited and misused by 
the magic-mongerer and the organizer of crude exhi- 
bitions in village market-places and the like, until it 
has come to be regarded almost as an unholy thing. 
This attitude to it has been the more readily taken 
because the subject is so little understood. One of 
the tasks of modern psychology will be to rescue the 
practice of hynotism from this degrading position 
and show it to be, in skilled hands, a normal way of 
making an examination of the unconscious mind, and 
of suggesting to that mind ideas which afterwards 
will be realized by the personality to the great bene- 
fit of the latter. As one patient said to a psycholo- 
gist, 'when I came I thought I was going to be 
doped. . . . Now I know that I have lived for 
years in a cellar, and that you have lifted me out 
and liberated what was in me.' 

In this chapter we do not intend to trace the his- 


tory of hypnosis back to the time when the super- 
stitious view was held that the hypnotized possessed 
some occult power which passed into the subject in 
the form of some magic fluid. This superstition is 
now exploded. Nor do we intend to go into a tech- 
nical discussion of the state of the mind in the hyp- 
notic trance, for this would not be of interest to 
the general reader, though those who practise hyp- 
notism ought to be thoroughly well read in this 
branch of the subject. 1 McDougall explains the 
state of hypnosis in terms of neurokyme and synaptic 
resistance. Professor William Brown explains it in 
terms of dissociation. Bernheim, Lloyd Tuckey, and 
others are content to explain it in terms of sugges- 
tion. Which ever theory is true, we may regard the 
last named as, at any rate, a working description 
of hypnosis. Thus it was understood by Braid, who 
introduced the term 'hypnotism.' Mesmer did not 
understand hypnosis, but he drew attention to the 
phenomena. Hypnosis is a psychical condition in 

1 Some people hold that only a qualified doctor should practise 
hypnosis. This is an unconsidered position to take, for the doctor's 
training as such cannot be said to include any tuition in hypnotism. 
In his final year he may be directed to read a book like Yellow- 
lees' Manual of Psychotherapy, but unless a doctor becomes a 
psychologist also, his normal training will not be of much use. 
Hypnosis is properly the sphere of the qualified psychologist, who 
presumably gives as much time to his studies in psychology — 
including the study of hypnotism — as the medical man gives to his 
complete course. If the psychologist works with the doctor, as is 
the practice of the present writer, an ideal arrangement exists, 
but a doctor qua doctor is not a qualified psychologist, and, judging 
by the way medical men have sent patients to me for hypnotic treat- 
ment, this position would seem to be realized by many doctors. 


which suggestions are more easily accepted, and 
realized with an intensity greater than is possible in 
the normal state. The critical faculty of the mind, 
the power to reject an idea, is for the time being 
* * h t < Jnhibited, and the mind tends to accept any idea 
f^f^//\" which is given to it. Moreover, ideas and impres- 
T*±jiA $f si° n s which the mind has held in its grip for many 
/ years can sometimes be got rid of. It is established 
h. that the mind retains in the depths of the uncon- 
(Qi/ttM^ scious all impressions it has ever had since con- 
sciousness first dawned. If all these impressions are 
* Hkened to sheets of paper with a heavy weight on 
he top, it will be readily perceived that in adult life 
— imagining the weight is gradually increasing — it is 
very difficult, if not impossible, to slip an impression 
out of the mind which comes near the bottom of the 
pile — that is, which was registered early in life. It 
may also be difficult to get an impression in. But 
if the weight be taken off the top, and the weight of 
the papers themselves eased, it is not so difficult to 
slip one sheet out, or to slip another sheet in, or both. 
We know that, given a sufficient stimulus, it is 
possible for the mind to recover the memory of any 
event which has happened since conscious life began. 
When a man is drowning, such a stimulus is pro- 
vided, and if he is rescued he will often say that all 
the incidents of his life passed before him as if a 
cinema film were being shown. To use our own 
illustration, we may say that the weight is removed 
and all the sheets of paper are turned over as one 


might turn over the leaves of a book. In hypnosis 
this imaginary weight is also lessened, and while the 
patient is in the hypnotic state an impression received 
in the mind very early in life may be recovered. If 
the state of trance is really deep, exceedingly early 
impressions can be recovered. In my own psycho- 
logical work I have been able to recover from an 
adult patient impressions received into the mind at 
the age of three. Professor William Brown, of 
London, has recovered impressions received into the 
mind in the first year of life. When one is trying 
to cure people by psycho-analysis, the power to 
recover early impressions, particularly those of a 
harmful nature, is a very important part of the 
technique indeed, for by recovering them we may 
rob them of their power to harm. 

Hypnosis was very useful on one occasion in this 
way. A war widow came to me in great distress of 
mind. She should have gone to a lay psychothera- 
pist (vide p. 9), but she did not know one whom she 
was prepared to trust, and I was faced with the 
dilemma either of helping her or letting her distress 
continue. A bundle of letters from her beloved 
had inadvertently been burnt. For this my patient 
greatly blamed herself. So much so that physical 
symptoms began to show themselves, and the men- 
tal distress was becoming severe. She felt that she 
had forgotten what was in the letters, and that thus 
a very precious link with the dead had been severed. 
If only she knew what he had said in his letters. . . . 


Realizing the fact that nothing is forgotten in the 
sense of being obliterated from the mind, I hypno- 
tized her. She passed very easily into a deep stage. 
Then, going backwards, I found her able to recall 
with ease not only what was written in the letters, 
but little incidents which happened during his leaves 
and the like. She even related what he had for 
breakfast on the morning he left her never to return, 
how he had separated two dogs fighting in the street, 
and the tender things he said at the door of his 
compartment. These were all recorded, and on 
waking the record was given to the patient and the 
writer withdrew. To tell the truth, it was a very 
moving and sacred moment in which she recovered 
the contents of the burnt letters and the remem- 
brance of the dear happenings and words which 
only occur between those who love. Let it be added 
that at once the physical symptoms disappeared and 
the patient is living a normal, happy life. If any 
reader is thinking that this was far too intimate an 
experience of the widow for any third person to 
share in, I can only say that no one could feel that 
more than I did. Perhaps the defence is that if the 
body is sick one will allow a surgeon to investigate 
the trouble without feeling that his examination is 
a violation of one's feelings. Someone has to inter- 
vene in the interests of health. And in some cases 
when the soul or mind is sick, the only hope of cure 
is that someone should investigate the intimate places 
of the mind that he may bring health and healing, 


and, if he be a worthy investigator, the knowledge 
he may gain will be sacred and safe with him, and 
he will try to keep his mind as clean as a surgeon 
keeps his hands. 

In hypnosis, also, ideas may be inserted into the 
mind. The critical faculty being inhibited, these 
ideas can be received by the mind without question. 
And an idea received into the mind tends to actualize 
itself in reality. It will be seen that if one is trying 
to cure a person by the method of suggestion, the 
power to make a person so suggestible that any idea 
presented to the mind will be received and actual- 
ized is again a very useful power indeed. 

Light may be thrown on the process of inducing 
hypnosis by imagining an Aberdeen policeman con- 
trolling traffic at cross-roads. He lifts his hand and 
stops one lot of traffic, he sweeps the other arm in 
the familiar gesture and another lot of traffic passes 
him. In other words, he stops one lot of traffic and 
passes another according to his own desire. Sud- 
denly he espies a silver shilling on the ground. His 
attention is riveted to the shilling (we were careful 
to state his origin), and while his attention is so held 
the traffic may pass him both ways without him 
taking any interest at all in it. When a person is 
hypnotized his attention is riveted in some way, as, 
for instance, by fixing his gaze on some bright object. 
He is told to relax his body on a couch, to try and 
make his mind a blank as far as posisble, and he is 
gradually allowed to fall into an induced sleep. 


When the eyelids close he is still instructed to fix 
on the field of darkness the image of the bright 
object at which he was formerly looking, and while 
he is in this state of quiet repose ideas, like the 
traffic, can pass his critical faculty and enter the 
depths of his mind. Of course, this is an illustration 
only, and is not to be pressed too far. 

It will be seen at once that, in skilled hands, we 
have here a very valuable means of achieving the 
healing of the soul. A man may suffer from a physi- 
cal paralysis, the origin of which is psychological. 
It is by no means uncommon to have a case in which 
the origin of a supposed paralysis was a sin com- 
mitted in youth, bottled up, repressed as we 
say, and pathologically forgotten. By being able, 
through hypnosis, to explore the patient's mind, to 
help him to recover the memory of the actual inci- 
dent; by being able to rob the memory of that inci- 
dent of its painful emotions and reassociate it with 
healthy emotions; by pushing into the patient's mind 
strong suggestions concerning the power of God to 
forgive, it is possible to bring about a complete cure. 

When we remember how many ills in life can be 
traced to psychological sources, ph obias , ob session s, 
neurose s, and the extraordinary grip of secret sexual 
i magini ngs and sing, and when we remember further 
how many of these are capable of religious treat- 
ment, and that in our religion we have the most 
powerful suggestions capable of influencing the mind, 
then the therapeutic values of religious suggestion 


under hypnosis become important, and the minister 
of the future will tend, more and more, one hopes, 
to be a qualified psychologist, and will find that there 
is a large area which is quite definitely his sphere 
and "~rns~sphere alone. There are many troubles 
Graving all the appearance of physical disability 
which are not only psychological, but spiritual. 
Their origin is a disharmony of the soul (a refusal 
to accept the idea of forgiveness, for instance). 
This is purely the sphere of such ministers, who, 
by their psychological insight and power to give 
skilled advice, may call themselves doctors of souls. 
Few ordinary physicians and few lay psvcho-analysts 
will tell a man that the cause of his trouBIeTis sin. 
Fewer still will tell him that a cure might be reached 
if only certain great religious truths were realized, 
and here the equipped minister of religion has a vast 
field of efficiency and power. Such ministers will 
have to be pioneers, and will incur much misunder- 
standing, but unless they tackle this work many suf- 
ferers will go unhealed. Where is the busy doctor, 
expensive specialists excepted, who has the time, 
patience, spiritual insight and experience, psychologi- 
cal knowledge and skill — particularly in regard to 
hypnosis, where the average medical student reads 
only one section of one text-book 1 — to bring relief 
to the sick and obsessed of soul? 

1 Dr. Ernest Jones has reason for his indignant if exaggerated 
outcry that 'most physicians are not given five minutes training in 
psychology in the five years of their student life' (Papers on 
Psycho- Analysts, p. 302). 



Sometimes a sexual temptation will assume such 
tremendous proportions that the sufferer is not so 
much to be blamed as pitied. In a spiritual sense 
he is ill. Both men and women have confided to me 
that no sooner have they stretched themselves on 
their bed than there has come to them an over- 
whelming desire to commit self-abuse. The treat- 
ment advocated on p. iJSff mav De inadequate 
because the matter may have become almost obses- 
sional. In these cases I have succeeded by making 
hypnotic suggestions directed to the reduction of 
morbid functional activity and to increased power 
of self-control, and above all the suggestion that 
thoughts of the purity of Christ will always rush 
to the mind at the onset of temptation and oust all 
others. Lloyd-Tuckey thinks that hypnotic sugges- 
tion acts 'by checking functional irritability and by 
developing and bringing into play the inhibitory 
action of the higher brain centres which have either 
not developed or have undergone impairment.' 1 
He gives a most impressive example of his own. A 
schoolmaster, forty years of age, a man of education 
and ability, 'had filled good positions in several colo- 
nies. His downfall was always due to his indecently 
assaulting young girls. He showed his faith in hyp- 
notism and his wish to be cured by working his pas- 
sage to London in 1903 in order to see me. He 
proved a somnambulist at once, and he responded to 
suggestions most completely. That evening he went 

1 Hypnotism and Suggestion, p. 313. 


out for a walk, and in a dark passage ran against 
a little girl. For a moment the old temptation 
assailed him, but it was immediately replaced by a 
strong inhibitory impulse which drove him rapidly 
from the spot. That was the last time he felt any 
morbid desire. He wrote two years later, saying 
he was filling a good position and had become very 
fond of little girls in a proper way.' Lloyd-Tuckey 
gives several such cases. Kraft-Ebing gives others. 1 
I could give several — one from a very long distance 
in which an obsession which had cursed its victim 
for fifteen years was removed in a few treatments 
by hypnosis — and the minister of the future will be 
the proper person to deal with this class of case, 
because he is the most ready person in whom people 
confide, 2 and because in religion are the most power- 
ful suggestions the human mind can receive, sugges- 
tions of the forgiveness, love, and grace of God. 

Some brief account of the various stages of hyp- 
nosis may be interesting, though one shades into the 
other and no strict classification can be made. 
Liebault classifies as follows. First a state in which 
the eyelids become heavy. There is a sense of 
drowsiness, but there is also complete consciousness, 
and commonly in this state the patient refuses to 
believe that he is hypnotized at all. As this stage 
passes into the next, voluntary movements, com- 

1 E.G. Psychopathia Sexualis, p. 457, where hypnosis seems the 
only possible chance of cure. 

2 It is commonplace to hear people say 'I couldn't possibly have 
told any one else.' 


monly carried out by reflex action, can be inhibited. 
In the second stage there is a certain degree of c ata - 
<N _lepsy. The patient is unable to open his eyes when 
told that he cannot do so, or is unable or able to 
raise a limb according to the suggestions made. It 
will be seen how valuable this knowledge is to dis- 
tinguish between a paralysis psychologically caused 
and a paralysis caused by a lesion. The third is a 
very drowsy stage, with a subsequent partial forget- 
ting of what happened during the trance. Fourth, 
a stage in which the patient ceases to be in relation 
with the outer world and only hears what is said 
by the operator. In this stage it is possible to sug- 
gest anaesthesia, and in my own experiments, in 
order to discover to which stage the patient has got, 
I have found that one may drive a needle into the 
flesh, even to the point of drawing blood, and no 
sensation of pain will be felt by the patient. I once 
suggested this to a missionary as a valuable art, if, 
as is so often the case in one's jungle travels, one 
drops upon a person suffering agonies of pain the 
nature of whose case forbids the use of a drug, and 
for whom a long torturing journey in a bullock cart 
to hospital would, in the ordinary way, be the only 
possible means of help. Obviously the possibilities 
of hypnosis in cases of childbirth suggest a field 
which one day may be opened up by the obstetrician. 
Baudouin recounts a case of childbirth when the 
whole process not only was timed by hypnotic sug- 
gestion, but the mother was not aware of the birth 


of her child until after it was born. This method is 
certainly superior to that which involves the use of 
drugs and anaesthetics following which are some- 
times symptoms of nausea. The fifth stage we might 
call somnambulistic, because during this stage, if the 
right suggestions are made, the patient will walk 
about the room. Moreover, in this stage illusions 
can be suggested. One writer tells of a lady 
brought into this stage of hypnosis who was told 
that her favourite cat had had its tail chopped off. 
Even when she recovered from the trance she was 
found fondling the animal, and bemoaning that it 
had been so cruelly treated, when all the time the 
tail was there as usual. One of the most interesting 
experiments in my own work concerning this stage 
was to ask the patient to write her name on a sheet 
of paper. Her name contained two E's. It was 
then suggested to her that there is no such letter as 
'E' in the English language. She was then asked to 
write her name again, and she wrote it without the 
'E's.' The sixth stage is a stage of complete 
amnesia, in which the patient can be given sugges- 
tions which will be worked out definitely after he has 
awakened from the hypnotic sleep. For instance, I 
have suggested to the same patient that on awaking 
she would remove a slave-bangle from one arm to 
the other, and on awaking she immediately carried 
out this act, and when asked why, said that it was get- 
ting tight on her arm. She was entirely unconscious 
of any mental influence. 


The most interesting experiment carried out on 
this particular patient (who, by the way, is very 
interested in the subject and willing to be experi- 
mented upon) was one witnessed by a fellow min- 
ister in order that any thought that one was exag- 
gerating might be removed. Under deep hypnosis 
the suggestion was made that her arm was to be 
burnt with a red-hot poker. At once she manifested 
all the muscular movements which one would make 
if one were consciously threatened in this way. I 
then touched her arm with the blunt end of my 
fountain pen. As soon as the pen touched her arm 
she shrank back with a little cry. The arm was 
carefully bandaged and the bandage was sealed, and 
the patient was told not to touch it. After twenty- 
four hours the bandage was removed, and the arm 
showed a sear just as though it had really been 
touched with a hot iron. The minister who was 
present at the experiment was also present when the 
arm was unbandaged and examined. It should be 
added that on bandaging the arm the suggestion was 
made that the patient would not experience any pain, 
and this suggestion was happily realized though the 
patient said that during the night she could just feel 
a slight throbbing sensation. This is very impressive 
evidence of the fact that an idea once received into 
the mind will actualize, and in hypnosis, the power 
to reject an idea being for the time inhibited, a 
suggestion given tends to have a greater poignancy 
than when given during consciousness. We see at 


once the value of this in trying to cure a trouble the 
origin of which is in the mind,, even if the results 
are physical. At the same time, in many cases an 
effect secured under hypnosis, especially if the trouble 
be a physical one, tends to last for only a short time, 
and in every case of psychotherapy care ought to 
be taken by the psychologist that he is not treat- 
ing a symptom by suggestion, but that he is dig- 
ging down to the root idea which caused the 

An interesting example of the brief nature of the 
improvement secured in a physiogenic trouble, and 
an example of the way in which a hypnotized person 
can be made to dream about anything suggested by 
the operator, is provided by one of my cases whom 
I will call Muriel H., aged twenty. She was brought 
to me by her former headmistress, and it was not 
certain whether her trouble was psychogenic or a 
normal case of disseminated schlerosis. Unfortu- 
nately it turns out to be the latter, and, although one 
can do much for the patient's mental attitude, one 
can do little to cure the disease which a competent 
doctor is treating along his own lines with some 

Before this conclusion was reached the patient 
was lying hynotized on a couch, her headmistress 
sitting at the patient's feet. I told the patient to 
dream that Jesus was standing by her side with a 
radiant smile on His face, that she looked up into 
His eyes and smiled, that He then bent down and 


touched both her legs. On saying this I laid my 
hand lightly on her thighs at the place she had indi- 
cated as being where she felt the disability most 
acutely. On being awakened, she sat up with her 
face transfigured. 'I have seen Jesus,' she said 
excitedly. 'He touched my legs, and I am sure I 
am going to be well.' With this she got off the 
couch, and, though she had come into my room that 
evening leaning on a stick on one side and on the 
arm of the headmistress on the other, she walked 
across my room without any help at all. Unfortu- 
nately even at the time of writing she is not healed, 
but she has never gone back to where she was before 
this dream was suggested, and I am hopeful that, 
by keeping up her expectation of recovery, her con- 
fidence, optimism, and high spirits, I can at any 
rate co-operate with the medical practitioner, so 
that his medical treatment may result in a more 
speedy recovery than would otherwise have been 

Some readers may feel that the patient was 
deluded about the presence of Christ. It is not easy 
to decide what actually happened. I should answer 
the objection by pointing out that it is no more a 
delusion than any ordinary dream, that it was justi- 
fied by its results, and that it is not impossible that 
one was allowed by the suggestion under hypnosis 
to open a door in the mind of the patient through 
which the Divine Friend, who is ever near us all, 
could pass into the inner sanctuary of the patient's 


life and there manifest His healing and radiant 

A great deal has been written about the dangers 
of hypnosis. By what has been written above these 
dangers will be apparent, yet, given that the psychol- 
ogist is thoughly well up in his knowledge of the 
subject, and given that he is a person of character, 
these dangers are very greatly exaggerated. By 
some it is alleged that no person should be hypno- 
tized, because no person should ever give up his will 
to another. This is a strange argument, for every 
time a person steps into a motor-car driven by 
another he gives up his will to the driver, and if 
one breaks one's leg and a physician insists on strap- 
ping it to a piece of wood until natural forces shall 
make the wood unnecessary, we do not cry out that 
our will has been given up. Yet in hypnosis an 
injured mind is only fixed in a certain way for a 
certain time while healing ideas and therapeutic 
forces work unhindered, making subsequent fixing 
of the mind unnecessary. It may be added that 
death under hypnosis is unknown. One precaution 
may be mentioned. Hypnosis sometimes seems to 
alter the speed of the heart. It is wise before hyp- 
notizing to make sure that the heart is beating stead- 
ily and regularly, and to have the word of a doctor 
that there is no heart disease. During hypnosis 
this point may be watched, and the patient awakened 
in two seconds if necessary. Obviously, apart from 
the hypnosis itself, emotions may be aroused which 


may affect an abnormal heart. Under hypnosis also 
the temperature may fall, but suggestion can remedy 
this without the patient being awakened. It is not 
always so easy to alter by suggestion the action of 
the heart. 

Those who feel a certain natural hesitation in the 
matter of hypnotism, owing to its quaint history and 
the way it has been utilized by quacks, may comfort 
themselves with two established facts. One is that 
no person can ever be hypnotized against his will, 
and secondly that no person when hypnotized can 
be made to do anything against his deep principles. 
It is an astonishing fact, in regard to the second 
point, that if a person be hypnotized and a toy 
revolver or dagger is put into the hand and the sug- 
gestion made that another should be murdered, the 
subject will often go through the act of murdering 
completely, but if a real weapon be substituted, the 
subject will, more often than not, put it down and 
refuse to do anything with it. 

An incident which lights up this second point also, 
while unpleasant, is deeply indicative. At the Sal- 
petriere in Paris a number of persons of importance, 
magistrates and professors, had assembled to watch 
a display of hypnotism. A very suggestible subject 
called Witt, had been hypnotized, and was still in a 
deep trance when the notables left the hall. A few 
students played an unworthy trick. They told Witt 
that she was alone at home, and that she was to strip 
and take a bath. Witt, who had carried out all the 


earlier suggestions, awakened at once in hysterics. 
Maudsley, in his book The Pathology of the Mind, 
thus comments, 'It is interesting to note that the hyp- 
notized subject will not commonly do an indecent 
or criminal act; the command to do it is too great a 
shock to the sensibilities of his brain, and accordingly 
arouses its suspended functions.' 

The greatest danger in regard to hypnosis, in my 
opinion, is that it should be used by the wrong per- 
son. In the wrong hands the results might be terri- 
ble. The second greatest danger is that it should 
be used to take the place of thorough and painstak- 
ing analysis. Of course, if only suggestive treatment 
is necessary no harm will be done, but if hypnotic 
treatment be applied when a repressed complex is 
functioning, then great harm may be done because 
the symptom of the disharmony is being treated and 
not the disharmony itself, and, though the symptom 
may be cured, all that has been done is to destroy 
the outward manifestation of the buried complex, 
which will manifest itself again in a short time either 
in the same way or in some fresh direction. This 
is the reason why so many cases 'cured' by hypnosis 
tend to relapse or to recur. The actual morbid roots 
of the trouble have never been eradicated. All that 
has been done is to cut off the ends of the growths 
proceeding from them. For this reason many emi- 
nent psychologists do not use hypnotism, and prefer 
the longer methods of free association, word-associa- 
tion, and dream analysis. 


At the same time, let it be added that the recur- 
rence of a symptom may not mean failure to unveil 
the hidden complex. It may mean that another 
repressed complex is using the same symptom for its 
distorted expression. As Dr. Ernest Jones says, 1 
'when once a symptom has been created as the mode 
of outlet for a repressed wish, there is a great ten- 
dency for other, but allied wishes to realize them- 
selves in the same symptom. It is just like the 
rain-streams on a hillside, which tend to make use 
of old channels, if only these are near enough, rather 
than to cut independent ones.' And in such a case, 
of course, the symptom will not finally disappear 
until all the repressed matter expressing itself in the 
symptom is brought to consciousness. 

In conclusion, though hypnosis is not to be 
regarded as a method to be used where other 
methods would suffice, yet with proper safeguards, 
and in skilled hands, it will yet come into its own as 
a useful method of making an examination of the 
unconscious mind in the search for those hidden and 
repressed complexes which do so much to disturb 
the harmony of so many lives, and as a means of 
getting into the mind those suggestions of confi- 
dence, strength, well-being, and courage which in 
many cases can alone bring about the health of the 

1 Papers on Psycho-Analysis, p. 311. 


It might seem as though tiredness were a physical j 

thing with which religion had no concern. One") ( 

answer to this would be that a full religion includes/ CfiU. 

in the circle of its scope the p hysica l as well as thefr-a^^^^p 

psyc hica l and spiritual. Jesus's own acts of healingyr j*~/> 

are part of the evTclence of this fact, and a complete} J ^ jgp j 

religion should teach that God's ideal will for man \^4iAM4tK6J 

is perfect health of body, mind, and spirit. )/ 

But one does not need this argument here, for 
what we call tiredness often has a psy chical o r [gin , 
and what I am setting out to do in this cnapteFis to 
show what I think will be of value in this age of 
nervous breakdowns, neurasthemaSj and tirednesses, \j?W > *f?' 
when you can hardly look round upon any city crowd /»/vv*J3#*'*' 
without being struck by the weariness in people's 
faces — first that a great deal of tiredness has its 
origin in the mind, second that, therefore, it is the 
rnind jghich rm!sF*be tuned up, and third that a cer- 
tain aspect ofTeligionls the ideal tonic for the mind. 

1 'D onli be t lc ed to-morrow' js the free translation of an African 
proverb for whicrTl arrTTHHebted to Dr. J. H. Ritson, secretary 
of the British and Foreign Bible Society. 



First of all, then, to show that a good deal of 
tiredness begins in the mind. Mosso's experiment 
shows that in an ordinary action such as the moving 
of an arm, one can, by stimulating the nerve with an 
electric current, produce contractions of the muscle 
which go on for a certain time and then cease, owing 
to fatigue ; but if the muscle alone is then stimulated 
it continues to contract. That is to say, it is not the 
muscle that has been fatigued. We do not need this 
experiment save as a scientific background, because 
we can observe the same thing in ordinary life. 
Some of us have vivid memories of long and weari- 
some route marches during our army experience. 
We can remember reaching the stage when, through 
sheer weariness, men no longer sang, when they 
trailed their rifles, and some began to fall out. 
Then, perhaps, on the horizon would appear the 
little white triangles which meant that we were in 
sight of the tents which formed the best substitute 
we had for home. At any rate, it was the end of 
the journey. At once the men picked up their rifles, 
burst into song, and marched with heads up and 
shoulders back. What had happened? It was the 
mind that had been tir ed, not thsJbgdy. And when 
the mind was exhilarated, fatigue of body was 
almost negligible. One of the facts of life which 
it is interesting to know is this, that the mind is 
always exhausted before the body. It is not difficult 
to understand why this is so. It seems to be the 
purpose of God that the earlier fatigue of the mind 


shall warn the body that it is approaching the zone 
of danger, and thus save it from exhaustion. At 
any rate, in the__^jr^tor£_of_e_vohifo 
e^oiYeg^after_the Jbody^_ For example, muscular 
development and strength are derived from far 
earlier phases of our progress from the animals 
than is the activity of the higher centres of the 
brain. It may be remembered that the embryologist 
tells us that the heart begins to beat when it is 
microscopically small, and long before the nervous 
system is functioning. Thus the mind is not so com- 
pletely adapted to its environment as is the body, 
and often reels away from the demands that are 
made upon it. It is not only that the mind is a more 
sensitive instrument, but also that it has not had so 
much opportunity of adapting itself to the shocks 
of life. We may say in popular language that when 
a person faints it is not necessarily because there is 
anything the matter with his body, but because his 
mind turns away in horror from a certain situation 
and provides him a way of escaping from that situa- 
tion if only for a few moments. In a not dissimilar 
way the element of tiredness is largely mental. 
There is nothing seriously wrong with the physical 
organism, but the mind is depressed for reasons 
which we shall see, and therefore induces in the body 
an illusion of fatigue. Very few people ever get 
anywhere near the point of actual physical fatigue 
unless there is organic disease sapping the energies, 
or unless they are athletes, or are doing very excep- 


tionally fatiguing physical work. In a sentence, it 
is their minds that are tired, and we may say popu- 
larly that the mind, being on the throne of the body, 
persuades the body that it is tired, the body accepts 
the authority of the mind, and symptoms of fatigue 

A few simple illustrations of this may persuade 
the reader to accept this truth and not turn away 
from this chapter with his tongue in his cheek. 
However tired you might feel after a long day's 
work, if somebody told you that by walking fifteen 
miles you could gain ten thousand pounds you would 
find that you could accomplish the journey — if you 
believed it — and the body would not let you down. 
Better still, think of a mother utterly tired out with 
housework, who protests at night that she can hardly 
put one foot before the other. Her child falls ill, 
and with tireless energy she nurses it day and night. 
Her mind is stimulated by love for her child, and 
her body carries on, showing conclusively that it was 
her mind and not her body that was really tired. 
I once stayed with a friend for the week-end, and 
on the Saturday afternoon his wife asked him to cut 
the grass in the front garden. The lawn was about 
the size of a pocket handkerchief. He grumbled a 
great deal and complained of fatigue, but at last 
took the shears and began. He had many rests, and 
came in exhausted and lay on the couch until tea- 
time. After tea a friend came and asked him to 
play tennis. He played hard tennis from six to 


nine-thirty, and then came home and said, 'It's nice 
to get a bit of exercise !' In the latter case his mind 
was interested, and therefore the body wasn't tired. 
In the former case the mind was unstimulated, there- 
fore the body complained of fatigue. I remember 
once being in a home when a mother asked her son 
if he would take his granny for a stroll on a summer 
evening. He complained that one got very tired at 
the office. But when his girl came later in the eve- 
ning they walked five miles, part of it in the dark, 
and returned without sign of fatigue. In the first 
case the mind was unstimulated and therefore the 
body was tired, but in the second case the mind was 
interested and the body knew no fatigue. Dr. Had- 
field relates how he witnessed an explosion at mid- 
night at a great munition factory, and afterwards 
heard that a neurasthenic woman, after her day's 
work, had risen from bed, and, in anxiety for the 
safety of her husband and son, had run practically 
the whole distance of seven miles to the scene of 
the explosion in an incredibly short time. 

Of course two questions will have risen to the 
mind of the reader already. One is that surely there 
must be a point at which physical fatigue does set 
in. I was once asked the question whether, when 
a man had completed fifteen miles and got his ten 
thousand pounds, he could do another fifteen miles 
for another ten thousand pounds, and when this 
arrangement might be expected to break down. One 
answer might be that when he had walked thirty 


miles and made twenty thousand pounds the prospect 
of another ten thousand would be an insufficient stim- 
ulus to the mind to keep off the fatigue a further 
fifteen miles would bring! But, joking apart, a 
truer answer is this. Muscular activity produces 
lactic acid and other toxic substances such as carbon 
di-oxide and certain nitrogenous compounds at the 
nerve ending. This lactic acid is a poison, and if a 
sufficient quantity of it is manufactured, a fatigue 
will ensue and sleep will supervene in order that 
these poisons may be neutralized. Therefore, the 
argument cannot be carried to extremity. Our point, 
which remains true, is that very few people indeed 
ever get anywhere near the point where excess of 
lactic acid produces actual physical exhaustion. 

The second question which will rise to the mind 
is whether there will not be reaction after mentally 
stimulated activity. Will not the mother 'go flop' 
when the child recovers ? It ought to be said clearly 
that one of the main factors which makes for what 
we call reaction is our expectation of it. If in driv- 
ing my car I have occasion to make her go fifty miles 
an hour for a certain purpose, she does not let me 
down by developing a reaction when the demand for 
increased speed is not made. She only shows signs 
of a reaction if the supply of energy — petrol — gives 

My second point is that since the mental factor 
in fatigue is so important we must find a way to 
tone up the mind, and so be the master of our mind 


that we can reduce fatigue to a minimum. Our 
womenfolk often tell us that we overwork. This 
should be received in the spirit in which it is given, 
but not believed. It is safe to say that very few 
people overwork. We commonly do one or more 
of three things. We worry, or we fail to arrange 
our work, or we do work that is not an expression 
of our personality. Let us look briefly at these three 

One could cite hundreds of cases in which a so- 
called rest cure is no cure at all because the patient 
is worrying. The true cure for tiredness is very 
rarely inaction. For every one who is tired by 
having too much to do there are ninety-nine people , 
who haven't enough to do. Ennui is the most tiring i- 7 
thing in the world. Worry is often caused by a 
failure to face up to some demand made upon our 
personality. If one may put it thus, there is some- * 
thing in the conscious mind, or subconscious mind, ) 
which is too poignant to be dismissed from the mind, f 
and yet to which we have not really faced up. Some- 
times, indeed, worry is caused by the fear of some- I 
thing that may happen, and a restless expenditure >* 
of mental energy wondering what we shall do when 
and if it does happen. Worry is often caused by 
the futile effort^to^ cross rivers before we have got 
to them. But what is actually happening in the 
mind — in popular language — is not dissimilar from 
the racing of the engine of a motor-cycle. That is 
to say, tremendous energy is being expended, but 


the machinery is not being engaged. The 'mind 
goes round and round,' as we say, but the person- 
ality is not propelled an inch on the road through 
the difficulty. 

The way to cope with such worry is to sit down 
and contemplate the whole situation. If necessary, 
write it out. I advocate this because I have tried 
it. In a perplexity with a number of pros and cons, 
it is almost essential to write them all out so that 
one can survey the whole problem. Then one should 
make up one's mind as to what is the next thing to 
do. If at all practicable, do it at once. This is to 
let the clutch in, and, instead of the energy of the 
mind racing and expanding itself without any result, 
the machinery is being engaged, the energy of the 
mind is being drawn away into definite action, and 
worry is killed. If it is impracticable to do anything 
at once, decide what is to be done. Then the mind 
is enabled to turn to other interests. When you 
have done all that can be done and viewed the whole 
situation and faced up to it, you will have killed 
worry. To worry is only to unfit yourself for what- 
ever demands will be made upon you, and to let 
the energy of the mind waste itself in fruitless 

In the second place, a busy person should take 
great care to arrange his work. If it is practicable 
I believe there is nothing which gives greater effi- 
ciency than to work to a time-table. By arrange- 
ment, one can go to each task freshly and quietly, 
do that task with all the strength of one's person- 


ality, and then go on to the next, and do that in 
the same way, being content to leave to the morrow 
the things one cannot do to-day, and giving a place 
of honour to recreation, sleeping, and eating. When 
one has carried out these two directions relating to 
worry and order, one may leave results to God. 
Surely thaT~is~what Jesus did Himself. He didn't 
worry, He faced the entire situation, pondered 
quietly as to which line of action was His Father's 
will, did it as He did everything, with all the strength 
of His personality, and did not become frantic over 
what could not be accomplished, and He certainly 
gave a place of honour to the fellowship of the meal 
and the sacrament of sleep. We have the same 
number of hours in the day as He had. 

The third point, that of doing work which 
expresses our personality, is more difficult because 
so many people are caught already and have to earn 
their living by doing certain things. They can only 
escape now by making the job they have to do sacra- 
mental. Let them see all service done to man as 
done to God, and let them make their motto Brown- 
ing's line in Pippa Passes: 

All service ranks the same with God. 

This I believe to be literal truth. I don't believe it 
matters to God or the world whether a man is a 
butcher or a bishop. It matters whether he is a good 
butcher or a good bishop. One of these days men 
will not only be ordained to the ministry, but 
ordained to whatever job they decide to take up, for 


all service to the community is service to God. This 
indeed is the best way we can serve God. 'Divine 
service,' so-called, is only the preparation for the 
true divine service which is interpreting in terms of 
your own job the Spirit of Christ. And a man's 
work for God should not be just his church work, 
which is a very small per cent, of his time. It should 
be his business, which he should regard as his first 
contribution to the Kingdom of God. This is not, 
of course, to degrade the ministry or the work of 
the Church, but to elevate all other work. Think 
how nice it would be to have an ordained bootmaker 
who never used brown paper and an ordained char- 
woman who always came at 8.30 a.m. No, it is not 
the job, but the spirit in which the job is done which 
determines whether work is sacred or secular. The 
lady 1 who wrote the following poem is as much a 
minister of God as the priest who administers the 

Lord of the pots and pipkins, since I have no time to be 

A saint by doing lovely things and vigilling with Thee, 

By watching in the twilight dawn, and storming Heaven's 

Make me a saint by getting meals, and washing up the plates ! 

Although I must have Martha hands, I have a Mary mind, 
And when I black the boots, I try Thy sandals, Lord, to find, 
I think of how they trod our earth, what time I scrub the 

Accept this meditation when I haven't time for more! 

1 Miss Cecily Hallack. 


Warm all the kitchen with Thy Love, and light it with Thy 

Peace ! 
Forgive the worrying, and make the grumbling words to 

Lord who laid breakfast on the shore, forgive the world 

which saith 
'Can any good thing come to God out of poor Nazareth?' 

It is exceedingly important that young people who 
have not yet definitely chosen their profession or 
trade should be encouraged to choose a job the doing 
of which does express their personality; a job they 
will like and in which they can take a real interest. 
'Study of the lives of great men suggests that those 
work hardest and go farthest whose work has for 
them an absorbing interest. Where children are 
taken from the work which naturally interests them, 
not only is there grave danger of the psychological 
disorders which follow repression, but men of genius 
may be lost to the world, for whom a number of 
persevering "machine minds" are but a poor substi- 
tute.' 1 It is a poor life which only begins to live 
when the clock says that one may leave work, and 
far greater mental harmony will come by doing a job 
we love, even for small pay, than if, for a larger 
salary, we do work in which we cannot express our- 
selves. A man who perfectly expresses himself in 
his daily work requires few holidays. If a personal 
note may be excused, it is possible to have one's 

1 Dorothy Wilson, Child Psychology and Religious Education, 
p. 85. 


diary full for months ahead, and to put in as much 
as twelve hours work each day, and yet not to suffer 
real fatigue and to keep a place of quiet about the 
soul. If the mind is governed in these three ways 
the mind will be at rest, and if the mind is at rest 
physical fatigue will not be that evil thing which 
makes us irritable, bad-tempered, 'nervy,' hard to 
live with, and morose, but will be reduced to that 
healthy tiredness which cannot be called fatigue, and 
which is more pleasurable than painful, such as the 
feeling one has after playing eighteen holes of golf 
in a biting wind. 

The importance of this mental factor might be 
seen in some such comparison as one which I have 
borrowed, from an essay of Dr. Hadfield in The 
Spirit. Let us imagine a physically frail Prime Min- 
ister who is a master of his mind. In the course of 
a day he guides the councils of State, may direct a 
war, may settle industrial disputes, advise on diplo- 
matic relations with other nations, receive deputa- 
tions on this matter and on that, all in addition to 
the ordinary cares of his private affairs. Compare 
that output of energy with that of a physically stal- 
wart barber whose anxieties are confined to his little 
shop, who guides two assistants, settles a dispute 
with one of them, receives a deputation from the 
lather boy who asks for more wages, conducts diplo- 
matic relations with the woman who keeps the shop 
next door and who has hung out her washing on his 
pole, and the height of whose diplomacy is to sell 


you a mixture which he alleges will cover your bald 
head with a beautiful growth of fluffy hair. I do 
not think it is an impossible comparison, yet at the 
end of the day the barber conceivably, and probably, 
would be far more tired than the Prime Minister. 
Why? Physically the barber is the stronger, but the 
Prime Minister is the master of his mind; therefore 
he doesn't worry, he works in an orderly way, and 
his work expresses his personality. His mind is at 
rest, and fatigue and irritability are ruled out. y 

The next thing that must be said is this. Men 
think that they achieve their end by the use of the 
will, but the will is not a very great asset unless and 
until it is fired by feeling. It will be noticed in the 
illustrations cited above that feeling has reinforced 
the mind rather than a mere effort of will. In the 
case of the man who walked fifteen miles it was the 
feeling of desire that refreshed his mind. In the 
case of the mother nursing her child it was the feel- 
ing of love for the child. In the case of the man 
playing tennis, and that of the man taking his girl 
for a walk, it was again feeling that banished tired- 
ness. That is to say, this refreshment to the mind 
cannot be obtained by flogging the will. However 
my friend had flogged his will in order to cut the 
front lawn, he could not in this way have got rid 
of his fatigue. It is important to notice this. Very 
many people imagine that if only they had a stronger 
will they could accomplish anything. The maximum 
strength of the personality, however, is only obtained 


when the will is fired by feeling, much as the 
machinery of a motor-bike is fired by the petrol 
vapour, and the will without feeling is not a great 
deal more use than the machinery without the petrol. 
If I say to a man, 'Sit down and do this difficult 
calculation,' and if he is a man who greatly dislikes 
mathematics, I may have some difficulty in persuad- 
ing him to do it, however much he flogs his will, but 
if I tell him that the answer to the calculation is 
the amount of money left to him by his aunt who 
has just died in Australia, he works with avidity. 
Those feelings of interest have been aroused. Some 
of us know the difference between going into a room 
full of people and milling that one shall feel per- 
fectly at home and at ease; willing that a strained 
attitude shall be avoided, and then being made to 
feel at home by a kindly greeting from one's hostess. 
If one is passing down the street and sees a bully 
torturing a child, one doesn't stand and engage one's 
will, saying 'Go to, I will now deliver this child from 
the clutches of this bully.' The will, fired by the 
feeling of indignation, causes one to hurl oneself at 
the bully with hardly a moment's conscious thought. 
Feelings of anger, indignation, curiosity, compassion, 
and the like lead men to do things which they would 
never do merely by the exertion of the will. Paul 
knew this as well as any one. He says, 'The good 
which I would I do not, but the evil which I would 
not that I do.' * 'To will is present with me, but 

1 Rom. vii. 19. 


to do is not.' * But he also says, 'The love of Christ 
constraineth us.' 2 Where will is impotent, feeling is 

We have now reached this point. The origin of 
most of our tiredness is in the mind. Therefore it is 
for the mind that we must find a means of refresh- 
ment. The nature of this refreshment is rather in 
feeling than in will. The conclusion of the matter 
is this. Although feeling is automatically released 
by the instincts in many of the situations in which 
we find ourselves — as, for example, when a man 
fights for his life, loves his betrothed, rescues a child 
from a bully, runs away from a house on fire, or 
back into it to save his child — yet there are many 
situations in which the mind needs refreshment 
through feeling, when the instincts do not release 
it automatically. How can this feeling be released? 
The answer is the way of prayer. You would find 
the greatest tonic for the mind, and thus for the 
body; the greatest specific against neurasthenia and 
nervous breakdown, if you would resolutely keep 
even a quarter of an hour a day, during which you 
pushed back the tumultuous demands of the things 
you have to do, went into the silence where God can 
more easily be realized, and held in the mind for a 
moment the thought of the presence of Christ and 
the thought of that quality of His which you need 
most. If you know that you are going to have a 
day of rush and turmoil and irritation, and especially 

1 Rom. vii. 18. a 2 Cor. v. 14. 


if, having begun, you find your temper going, and 
your irritability increasing, deliberately go away for 
a quarter of an hour and try this way. When you 
are alone and quiet, say to yourself, 'The Peace of 
God is mine. The Peace of God is mine.' Not 
asking for it, but taking it. Listen to Jesus, 'What- 
soever things ye pray and ask for, believe that ye 
have received them and ye shall have them.' * Poise 
and peace will become yours. So whatever quality 
you feel you lack, take hold of with both hands by 
faith and in quietness. In quietness and confidence 
shall be your strength. All Christ's qualities are 
expressions of His love, and you will find His love 
the greatest, deepest feeling in the world, flooding 
into your mind and spirit, bathing them, and refresh- 
ing them, and healing them, and when the mind is 
at ease the wearinesses of the flesh will fold their 
tents like the Arabs and as silently steal away. But 
someone will say, 'I cannot diagnose my own need 
clearly enough for that. I cannot name one thing 
I supremely need.' My answer is, in that case you 
must just think of Jesus. 

Jesus, the very thought of Thee 
With sweetness fills my breast. 

'Sweetness' is a feeling. A feeling which will be to 
the will what steam is to an engine. 'Thou will keep 
him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee,' 
says the old saint, and to stay the mind on God 

1 Mark xi. 24. 


means to have so many links with God that the mind 
can hardly touch any idea without that idea leading 
to thoughts of God and liberating kindling feelings 
of love, gratitude, and adoration. 

Let me close the chapter with two illustrations. 

'I was physically broken,' says Dr. Stanley Jones 
in The Christ of the Indian Road. 'The eight years 
of strain had brought on a nervous exhaustion and 
brain fatigue, so that there were several collapses in 
India before I left for furlough. On board ship, 
while speaking in a Sunday morning service, there 
was another collapse. I took a year's furlough in 
America. On my way back to India I was holding 
evangelistic meetings among the University students 
of the Philippine Islands at Manila. Several hun- 
dreds of these Roman Catholic students professed 
conversion. But in the midst of the strain of the 
meetings my old trouble came back. There were 
several collapses. I went on to India with a deepen- 
ing cloud upon me. Here was I beginning a new 
term of service in this trying climate, and beginning 
it — broken. I went straight to the hills upon arrival, 
and took complete rest for several months. I came 
down to the plains to try it out, and found that I 
was just as badly off as ever. I went to the hills 
again. When I came down the second time I saw 
that I could go no further, I was at the end of my 
resources; my health was shattered. Here I was 
facing this call and task, and yet utterly unprepared 
for it in every possible way. 


'I saw that unless I got help from somewhere I 
would have to give up my missionary career, go back 
to America, and go and work on a farm to try to 
regain my health. It was one of my darkest hours. 
At that time I was in a meeting at Lucknow. While 
in prayer, not particularly thinking about myself, a 
Voice seemed to say, "Are you yourself ready for 
this work to which I have called you?" I replied: 
"No, Lord, I am done for. I have reached the end 
of my rope." The Voice replied, "If you will turn 
that over to me and not worry about it, I will take 
care of it." I quickly answered, "Lord, I close the 
bargain right here." A great peace settled into my 
heart and pervaded me. I knew it was done ! Life 
— abundant Life — had taken possession of me. I 
was so lifted up that I scarcely touched the road as 
I quietly walked home that night. Every inch was 
holy ground. For days after that I hardly knew I 
had a body. I went through the days, working all 
day and far into the night, and came down to bed- 
time wondering why in the world I should ever go 
to bed at all, for there was not the slightest trace 
of tiredness of any kind. I seemed possessed by Life 
and Peace and Rest — by Christ himself. 

'The question came as to whether I should tell 
this. I shrank from it, but felt I should — and did. 
After that it was sink or swim before everybody. 
But nine of the most strenuous years of my life have 
gone by since then, and the old trouble has never 
returned, and I have never had such health. But it 


was more than a physical Touch. I seemed to have 
tapped new Life for body, mind, and spirit. Life 
was on a permanently higher level. And I had done 
nothing but take it!' 

'One hot night at sea,' says the late Mr. F. A. 
Atkins, 'I was sitting out on deck, when a dear old 
man joined me, and began to talk of politics, social 
reform, and religion. After a time we spoke of 
Jesus, and I remarked that a man had written a book 
to prove that He was a myth — a fictitious and legen- 
dary figure. "A myth !" exclaimed my companion. 
"So they call Him that, do they? Well, then, a 
myth saved me from suicide." With a little encour- 
agement he told me the story. Overwork and a 
nervous breakdown had led to insomnia. He con- 
sulted specialist after specialist, spent weary days in 
health resorts and nursing-homes, and still endured 
awful, endless nights of dreary sleeplessness. "Every 
night," he said, "I went to bed worn out, worried, 
and wakeful. A dozen times I would get up, turn 
on the light, walk about, go back to bed — but all in 
vain. I had been going on like this for nearly a 
year. I had tried everything, but still I could not 
sleep. I was unable to read or work, and life was 
becoming an intolerable burden. I felt sometimes 
that reason was tottering, and, to my horror, I had 
begun to think of suicide. One night, when I was 
desperate, I began to pray. I told Jesus I had 
heard that He helped men when they were at their 
last gasp, and I was pretty nearly finished. I told 


Him the whole story — all I had gone through. I 
told Him I could not stand it much longer, and I 
begged Him to come to my help. Then I turned 
over and slept peacefully for three hours. Since 
then, I have prayed every night, and every night I 
sleep — good, refreshing sleep — for five or six hours. 
I just tell Jesus all about my worries and turn them 
over to Him." "Did you tell your doctors?" I 
asked. "I told the best two of the bunch, and they 
both said there was nothing abnormal or mysterious 
about my experience. It was what they would 
expect. One of them, a great nerve specialist, 
declared that if all his patients would pray every 
night when they went to bed he would be a poorer 
man, for he would hear very little more from the 
victims of insomnia." ' This is only one illustration 
where thousands would serve. In half an hour just 
recently I was able to break a stubborn insomnia of 
over three months' duration. The method lay in 
bringing, under certain quiescent conditions, the con- 
flict raging in the depths of the mind up to the sur- 
face, and then in getting rid of the repressing emotion 
by opening the sluice gate of suggestion through 
which the love of God could sweep, cleansing, renew- 
ing, and refreshing in all the secret backwaters of 
the soul. 

Jesus knew this secret so perfectly that often He 
would spend a whole night in lonely prayer upon a 
mountain, finding this way of recuperation of far 
greater value even than sleep. St. Francis of Assisi 


could spend a night in prayer 'continually repeating 
"My God, my God" and nothing more,' and then 
go to his work refreshed. We have not trained 
ourselves yet to draw to any great extent on this 
vast resource which is ours in prayer, but even to 
make a beginning would banish most of the unpleas- 
ant symptoms of our too frequent fatigue and bring 
to us a new health of soul. 

Let me close with the actual words of a great 
specialist, Dr. Hyslop of Bethlem Mental Hospital, 
London : 'As one whose whole life has been con- 
cerned with the suffering of the human mind, I 
believe that of all the hygienic measures to counter- 
act depression of spirits, and all the miserable results 
of a distracted mind, I would undoubtedly give first 
place to the simple habit of prayer.' 

Go in peace therefore, and 'do not be tired 
to-morrow,' fore the resources are sufficient. 



It is common knowledge in these psychological days 
that the human personality contains instincts which 
are its driving forces. The word instinct is often 
used very loosely. My own view is that we may 
reduce the instincts to three. The instinct of self, 
of sex, and the social or herd instinct. Derived 
from these, and commonly miscalled instincts, are 
the instinctive tendencies, and linked with these 
tendencies, giving the tendency its drive or power, 
is a characteristic emotion. For example, take the 
instinct of self in its aspect of self-preservation. 
One of the instinctive tendencies derived from it is 
that of flight, and the emotion linked with it, and 
giving it its power, is fear. If we use an illustra- 
tion of a river we may say that in the mind of every 
man, woman, and child there is a river of psychic 
life which breaks into three separate channels, which 
we may label self, sex, and social. Those again 
divide into lesser channels, such as flight, maternal 
care, imitativeness, and so on, and we may think of 
emotion as the slope of ground which gives the river 



its flowing power. Such emotions as fear, love, and 
hate all play their part. 

In ancient days we can see how necessary these 
driving forces were. Take the evolution of the ani- 
mal. The swiftness of the horse is due to the fact 
that the horse has this kind of psychological mecha- 
nism. It has an instinct for self-preservation, and, 
in far-off jungle days, at the first scratch of a leopard 
the emotion of fear kindled the instinctive tendency 
to flight, for the safety of the animal depended on 
its speed, and still a horse will shy at an old coat 
on the road, because the mechanism still works which 
tends to make it fly from a crouching beast of prey. 

Man from the earliest days of babyhood acts and 
reacts according to the drive of his instincts far more 
than is commonly supposed. He fondly imagines in 
maturity that he is guided by reason. As a matter 
of fact, in ninety cases out of a hundred he is guided 
by instinct, and makes up his reason afterwards. 
Children do the same. I have read of a little girl 
who was learning to ride a bicycle, and who unfortu- 
nately fell off it and hurt her knee. She at once 
made the remark, 'Oh, well, anyway, it's tea-time!' 
which is a very unimportant incident proving a very 
great principle. She reacted instinctively against 
appearing clumsy and unable to ride well — in this 
case the instinct of self-pride was kindled by the 
emotion of fear of being ridiculed — and after- 
wards made up her reason that anyway it was tea- 


It is important that if we are going to try and 
steer the lives of children for God we ought to know 
as much as possible about the way their minds are 
made. Supposing one goes back to the thought of 
the river of psychic life. We can see that if at any 
point a river is dammed there will be a swamp unless 
the water can be led away into other channels. As 
soon as one gets into touch with a child one realizes 
that he acts and reacts in obedience to his instincts. 
I want to suggest that when this instinctive urge 
leads him to do things of which we disapprove, it 
would be far better to find him some other channel 
for that river than to dam it. Incalculable harm 
can be done to a child by the latter method, which 
is done often by ridicule. A man of over forty came 
to see me once, and he was in pitiable distress, unable 
to grasp one's hand or look one in the face, unable 
to face the demands of his business, unable to go 
into any building where others were congregated, 
and the whole reason of his trouble was (as patient 
analysis discovered) that when he had been a boy 
his instinct for self-assertion had been dammed and 
thwarted in every possible way. He was the young- 
est boy in a big family, and came to be despised 
and looked down on, not only by his brothers and 
sisters, but by his father and mother. The attitude 
taken to him was 'You can't do anything. No one 
will want to employ you. You'll never make much 
out of life,' and so on. In this way the lad shrunk 
into himself, no outlet was shown him in which his 


energy could assert itself, and he developed what 
we call an inferiority complex, which forty years 
later caused the symptoms which I have described. 
The damage can be repaired by dragging long for- 
gotten incidents, when inferiority was produced, up 
into the light of consciousness, and also by showing 
him methods in which he could express himself for 
the good of the community. Now he is a keen and 
enthusiastic officer of our Church. 

I know from experience how difficult it is to sub- 
mit to the expression of instinctive energy which a 
child will find. A baby banging his spoon on his 
plate, throwing his toy on the floor as fast as one 
can pick it up, pulling off, again and again, the sock 
which his mother has put on; a small boy who, in 
sword and helmet prances about the dining-room 
beating a tin tray; the little girl who wades into 
the deepest puddles; all of them are simply acting 
in response to their instinct of self, in its aspects of 
self-assertion and self-display. The little boy who 
takes your gold watch, opens it with a knife, and 
stirs up the works with a pin is acting in response to 
his instinctive tendency of curiosity. The little fel- 
low at the Christmas party who cries to have a paper 
cap out of a cracker because the other boys have 
got one is reacting in response to the drive of the 
herd-instinct, fired by the emotion of fear, the fear 
of being unlike the others. The little boy who 
stands on the head of the drawing-room sofa with 
a wooden sword in his hand, and, to the horror of 


his aunt, cries, 'I am king of the castle, get down 
you dirty rascal,' is acting thus in response to his 
instinct for self-assertion. Supposing in these cases 
we act according to our easy desire for a quiet life, 
then the child's assertiveness, thwarted, may become 
inferiority. The instinct to be like others, if 
thwarted, will make an oddity, and tend to lead to 
nervous breakdown in the prime of life. Curiosity 
thwarted may become a morbid perversion, and so 
on. But it is just that instinct for assertion, rightly 
led into other channels, which makes for leadership. 
It is just that instinct of curiosity, rightly led, which 
gives us our research chemists and our explorers. 
It is just that instinct of the herd which makes for 
fellowship. It is a commonplace that the worst boys 
in the Sunday school often turn out the best men, 
and the reason is that the anger and passion which 
may, in childhood, be manifested in the stamping of 
feet, or the flying into a paddy, can, if rightly led, 
become a passionate love of truth, or a passionate 
hatred of some great evil. It is these ideas which 
lie behind the right understanding of the word edu- 
cation, which means drawing out into true channels 
the powers within the child. For is it an accident 
that they are born with these instincts? None of 
them are evil things. We have sneered at selfish- 
ness, at imitativeness, and for many the word sex 
is almost unclean; but it is the perversions of these 
instincts that are unpleasant, not the instincts them- 
selves. God gave us them, and in themselves, like 


all His gifts, they are wholly good and beautiful, 
and the true driving forces of the personality. 

I know that a good deal of this will seem mere 
theorizing to some who so nobly are tackling the 
actual work of training children. I know that under 
many modern conditions, both in day schools and 
Sunday schools, it is almost impossible to give a 
child that individual attention which is necessary to 
carry out the ideas I have put forward. I know also 
that some will feel like an elderly man to whom I 
suggested some of these ideas in conversation, and 
who turned to his wife and said, 'Mary, it's a won- 
der our children ever grew up at all.' But just as 
the modern parent has quite a lot of knowledge 
which formerly was wholly within the province of 
the doctor, so in these days the modern parent will 
find it helpful to know truths about a child's mind 
which formerly were wholly in the province of the 
psychologist. Knowledge is not the enemy of piety, 
but her sister. We want to lead and direct the 
activity of our children into those channels which 
make for a harmonious and full-orbed personality, 
and which make the child more able to serve God in 
bringing in His Kingdom. 

Nor is this gospel limited in its application to the 
child. For instance, to quote a well-known illustra- 
tion, an old man is walking down a lane when he 
finds himself being chased by a bull. He leaps over 
a five-barred gate at the side of the lane with aston- 
ishing speed and agility, though he finds later that 


it is only with the greatest difficulty that he can get 
over the gate at all. Whence has come this new 
accession of power? It has come not from mere 
will, but from the instinct of self-preservation fired 
by the emotion of fear. Take another example. A 
woman finds herself tired out with house-work, and 
can hardly put one foot before another when her 
child falls ill, tirelessly she tends the child, perhaps 
sitting up night after night nursing it. Whence 
comes this new accession of energy? It is the 
instinctive tendency of motherhood fired by the emo- 
tion of love. A man is lying in bed on Sunday 
morning determined not to go to church. Somebody 
shouts 'Fire!' and he is at the end of the garden in 
five seconds. Then notice a further development. 
Supposing someone tells him that his little daughter 
is still in the burning building. Then blinding smoke, 
scorching flame, and falling timber will not keep 
him back. In the first place the power to get up 
came from the instinct of self-preservation fired by 
the emotion of fear, but in the second place the 
power to go back into the building is derived from 
the instinctive tendency of the father fired by the 
emotion of love. 1 

We may talk as much as we like about man being 
impelled by reason, and we may emphasize the 
power of will, but in the main the driving forces 

1 It is interesting to notice that the power released on behalf of 
another is greater than the urge to protect oneself. A leopard will 
fight till blood flows to protect itself, but to protect its cubs it will 
fight to the death. 


of our personality are those primaeval instincts fired 
by equally primaeval emotions. It must be obvious 
to all of us that in early times there was more scope 
for the direct play of instinct than there is to-day. 
For instance, the acquisitive instinctive tendency was 
directed toward the accumulation of the raw mate- 
rials of life : food, shelter, and weapons, which, when 
required, are now obtained with far less output of 
energy. The superfluity of this energy accounts for 
the way people fill their houses with useless things. 
The combative instinctive tendency of primitive man 
was constantly in play, for he had to fight for his 
very existence. The superfluity of this urge explains 
the appeal of Rugby football, the horseplay of boys, 1 
and incidentally why some Trustees' Meetings are 
bear gardens. The sex instinct was originally 
required in great strength to reproduce large quan- 
tities of the species, but this has been made less 
necessary by civilization, which takes such tremen- 
dous care of the young and the ailing. The super- 
fluity of this urge explains the appeal of the low 
music-hall actress, whose main asset is sufficient 
immodesty to show as much of her body as the law 
will allow. There is, therefore, a tremendous 
amount of primitive energy which is left over, as 
we might say, which man no longer needs for the 
ordinary purposes of life, and which he has on his 
hands. With it he may do one of four things. He 

1 See p. 216, et seq., in my friend Dr. G. F. Morton's fine book 
Childhood's Fears. 


may expend it according to its primitive purpose, in 
which case he will often find himself up against the 
law. He may divert it into a perverted channel, 
which is bad for his moral, mental, and physical 
health. He may repress it, that is, try and bottle 
it all up, in which case he is on the road to a nervous 
breakdown, and should be told that the far end of 
that road is insanity. Or he may sublimate it, as 
we say — that is, he may harness it, not to its bio- 
logical end, but to some purpose satisfactory to the 
highest ideals of the self, and of value to the com- 
munity, a process often consciously begun and, if 
successful, unconsciously completed. This is the way 
of harmonious life. It does not destroy the instinct. 
This is impossible. It directs its energy into other 
than the biological channel. This, to change the 
figure, is what I mean by the gospel of the har- 
nessed instinct. Take as an illustration of this the 
instinct of sex, which unfortunately — largely owing 
to the hush! hush! methods of regarding it — from 
becoming a beautiful thing has become, to many 
people, a murky thing. In this instinct, which every- 
body possesses, we have one of the greatest forces 
of our personality. Obviously the restraints of civi- 
lization have left us with a great deal of sex energy 
on our hands. Very few people can find an adequate 
outlet for that energy in the purpose for which it 
was called into being, namely the reproduction of 
the species. 

There still remain, then, three alternatives. The 


first is to pervert the instinct, or direct it into a 
channel in which it will function morbidly. 1 The 
second way is repression, which many people follow, 
pretending that they have no such instinct. This is 
almost certain to lead to nervous breakdown, if not 
something worse. The third is a sublimation, 
whereby the instinct finds an outlet, perhaps in some 
other creative activity. For if the personality can 
create anything, whether it be something we make 
with our hands, a poem we write, a picture we paint, 
this is an outlet for the instinct named. Our own 
language is exceedingly revealing in this matter. We 
talk of a man being wedded to his art, and we talk 
of a man's books or paintings as his children, and 
the very words show that there is a link between 
these things and the creative instinct. On the other 
hand, many people find they can harness this instinct 

1 I have seen cases of perversion where sexual gratification has 
been obtained by inflicting pain on others, preferably of the oppo- 
site sex (sadism) ; by suffering pain inflicted by the opposite sex 
(masochism) ; by transferring the power to excite sex feeling to a 
part of the body or an object worn by the opposite sex, e.g. hand, 
hair, or shoe (fetichism) ; by pretending that a person of the same 
sex is of the opposite sex (homosexuality or inversion) ; and by 
misusing the body accordingly (pederasty, cf. Rom. i. 26-7) ; by 
lustfully gazing at the nude body of the opposite sex (scopto- 
philia) ; or by exhibiting an erotogenic part of the body (exhibi- 
tionism). Tendencies to the above perversions are seen — corre- 
sponding to each perversion above — in the woman teacher delight- 
ing in caning boys, in the girl who loves having her hair pulled by 
boys, in the lover's handkerchief treasured under the pillow, in the 
unmarried woman and young girl mutually 'in love' with each 
other, in cases like that of 'Peeping Tom of Coventry,' in the girl 
who, in the choice of an evening frock, chooses one which shows 
a maximum of shoulders, bust, and arms. Such tendencies are 
not perversions, but should be watched. 


by caring for children. There are hundreds of 
people who for various reasons will never have chil- 
dren of their own, and they find an outlet for their 
maternal and paternal love in caring for the children 
of others. One thinks of Miss Amy Wilson Car- 
michael gathering little temple girls from all parts 
of India into her home at Dohnavur. My wife said 
to her on one occasion, 'What a pity you have no 
children of your own. You would have made such 
a splendid mother.' She replied, 'Yes, but isn't it 
far better to mother all these little motherless ones 
for God?' One thinks of Josephine Butler, coming 
home late one evening, and her only daughter, a 
little girl, rushing in excitement from her bedroom 
upstairs to greet her mother, and falling over the 
banisters at her mother's feet, to be taken up dead. 
And then one remembers how Mrs. Josephine Butler 
went out to mother thousands of girls who other- 
wise would have known nothing of mother-love. 

Because of one small low-laid head all crowned 

With golden hair, 
For evermore all fair young brows to me 

A halo wear. 
I kiss them reverently. Alas ! I know 

The pain I bear. 

Because of little pallid lips which once 

My name did call, 
No childish voice in vain appeal upon 

My ears doth fall. 
I count it all my joy their joys to share, 

And sorrows small. 


Because of little death-cold feet, for earth's 

Rough roads unmeet, 
I'd journey leagues to save from sin and harm 

Such little feet, 
And count the lowliest service done for them, 

So sacred sweet. 

Perhaps one might reverently say that when Jesus 
called little children to Him, and could not bear that 
they should be driven from Him, we have an example 
not only of a great teacher teaching a lesson about 
the nature of the Kingdom, but also a perfect per- 
sonality finding an outlet for this great instinctive 
energy which is part of true human nature. A per- 
fect harmonious personality must find some scope 
for every instinct. St. Paul also provides us with an 
interesting illustration of the harnessed instinct. 
Evidently he had a strong combative instinctive 
tendency, and at one time it found its expression in 
persecuting those who did not believe as he did. 
But it is noteworthy that when he was converted this 
energy was not bottled up in any way. It was simply 
led into a new channel, and the same urge which 
made him a persecutor made him the greatest mis- 
sionary advocate in the early Church. In this con- 
nexion we may say in parenthesis that the fact of 
man possessing a strong combative instinct does not 
necessarily mean, as some have suggested, that wars 
will always happen. For man can divert the energy 
which might result in war into activity for the good 
of the community. 


If the instincts are to be harnessed in a satisfac- 
tory way the harnessing must fulfil two conditions. 
It must be satisfactory to the individual, and, sec- 
ondly, of value to the community. The lady who 
keeps a little Pekinese and lavishes affection upon it 
because she has no child does not find harmony for 
her personality, because neither of the conditions is 
fulfilled. It is not satisfactory to her ideal self, and 
it is of no value to the community. To adopt a child 
from the National Children's Home would be better, 
because it would fulfil both conditions. We must 
sit down and ask ourselves quite frankly which 
instinct of ours constitutes the greatest drive in our 
nature. It may be self-assertion, or self-display, or 
some other tendency derived from the self-instinct. 
It may be that our main energies derive from the 
sex instinct. It may be that they derive from the 
social, or herd instinct. We must then look for 
some channel into which the stream of energy can 
be turned, which shall be at once satisfactory to our 
ideal self and of value to the community. Only 
thus shall we find a completely harmonious life. 
Hundreds of evils will disappear when each one of 
us thinks enough about his own mental make-up to 
find this ideal outlet for his energies. Betting, for 
instance, is often indulged in because the instinct of 
self-assertion is repressed. If a man 'backs a win- 
ner' there is a psychological sense in which by a 
kind of identification he becomes a winner himself 
and lavishes upon himself self-admiration. Indeed, 


others lavish it upon him when they congratulate 
him. If therefore, a man is in some industry in 
which his instincts are repressed and in which he 
cannot realize himself, then he will be found follow- 
ing some hobby, self-indulgence, or entertainment in 
which instinctive self-assertion finds an outlet. Bet- 
ting is the laziest and easiest way of achieving this 

At the same time, it is not so easy as I have made 
it sound, to harness the instincts, and in all honesty 
I ought to say that in my experience a sublimation 
is by no means always successful. That is to say, it 
is not easy to find a channel which will take all the 
surplus energy derived from an instinct. The subli- 
mation of the unmarried woman, for example, who 
teaches in the Sunday school is not so successful a 
method of dealing with sex energy as marriage 
would be, though it is the best method perhaps under 
the circumstances. It gives happiness, and certainly 
saves from nervous breakdown. 

Nor is it satisfactory to conclude that, for instance, 
work among children will be a satisfactory sublima- 
tion for the sex energy of any unmarrying woman. 
It is essential to discover by careful psychological 
investigation which is the best sublimation for the 
individual case. This will depend partly on which 
impulse of the instinct is strong. For instance, if in 
the case mentioned above the maternal impulse is the 
way in which the sex instinct most strongly manifests 
itself, then to work amongst children may be a satis- 


factory sublimation, but if, as with some women, it is 
self-exhibition, manifested in the unduly short skirt, 
low dress, and the like, then work among children 
would not be a sublimation but a disaster. She must 
find in some kind of self-display which is both satis- 
factory to her best self and beneficial to the com- 
munity an outlet for the instinct. The profession of 
the actress or musician would be more likely to solve 
the problem. So if in a man the sex instinct has 
shown itself in sex curiosity, then a sublimation will 
be more satisfactorily made if he becomes a qualified 
gynaecologist than if he becomes a schoolmaster. 

Another point must be watched. People imagine 
that they can find an outlet for some instinctive 
energy when, it may be, that energy is repressed and 
is not therefore available. To quote Dr. Hadfield 
again, 'We cannot sublimate unless we have material 
to sublimate. It is worthless to try to sublimate the 
sexual instinct by creative work whilst the sexual 
instinct is repressed in some complex or regarded 
with distrust and suspicion. The emotion must first 
be released before it can be employed. The woman 
of thirty-five who has "never had a sexual feeling in 
her life" cannot easily find happiness in the supposed 
sublimation of instincts which are unexpressed. Her 
work becomes wearisome for lack of emotional 
energy. The instinct must be liberated; she must 
recognize and accept these feelings, and then, per- 
haps for the first time in her life, she becomes happy 
and works well. There is no more common mistake 


amongst moral people of our day than the attempt 
to sublimate without the material of sublimation, and 
they pay for their mistake by constant breakdown.' * 
The last suggestion I want to make — and one that 
has been endorsed by some of the greatest psycholo- 
gists — is that there is an outlet in which we ought 
all to be able to find self-realization. I mean that 
tremendous idea which Jesus called the Kingdom of 
God. The disciples found realization for their work 
was creative. Men were born again. Thus the sex 
instinct found expression. It was a realization of 
the wish for power over others, 2 and therefore the 
self-instinct found expression. It was a realization 
of fellowship, and so the herd instinct found expres- 
sion, and all other so-called instincts derive from 
these three. The mistake that hundreds of people 
make is to suppose that they want rest. They are 
nervy, they say, or always tired, or irritable, or 
peevish, or they have hideous nightmares and vile 
dreams. They are told, possibly by an indulgent 
physician, that they should go to the South of 
France for a month, or have the Weir Mitchell treat- 
ment of inactivity and isolation, which in hundreds 
of cases is the very worst thing that could happen 
to them. Probably not one man or woman in a 
hundred really overworks. The causes of nervous 
breakdown, neurasthenia, and half the ills of our 
modern life are due not to overwork, but to the fact 

1 Psychology and Morals, p. 166. 

8 'Even the devils are subject unto us' (Luke x. 17). 


that our work does not really express our personal- 
ity. It does not want to be lessened; it wants to 
be directed. We need a great purpose which will 
run through all the events of life as a thread runs 
through the beads of a necklace, giving even small 
events place and meaning and value. We are not to 
suppress our instincts, but harness them. We can 
divert the rushing Niagara which, unmastered, would 
hurl us to destruction, and force it to serve our high- 
est interests, so consecrating it that it may mean for 
us spiritual ability, achievement and power. Then 
when this part of its work is done, the river of life 
shall pass peacefully through the green meadows of 
the evening-land till it flows out at last in perfect 
peace to the ocean of Eternal Love and Eternal 




No apology ought to be needed for grappling with 
a subject such as this. Here is a temptation which is 
the chief moral problem of thousands of young peo- 
ple. If through prudery or mistaken reticence one 
is going to be silent on such a topic, or if one is 
going to be content merely to say to people, 'Read 
the Bible and say your prayers,' one is going to fail 
young people where they need one most. It is 
cowardly and dishonourable to fear to act surgically 
where surgery is demanded, and this is just as true 
for the teacher of religion as it would be for a sur- 
geon who, knowing that his patient was suffering 
from a suppurating appendix, said to him, 'Go and 
sit by the sea waves for a month and you will be 

It is always well to be quite honest with ourselves 
and look facts straight in the face. This action 
alone will rob them of much of their power to harm 
us. The origin of impure thought is found in the 
sex instinct. This, the strongest of all our instincts 
— made so in order that the carrying on of the race 



might be safeguarded — is really a beautiful thing. 
Through it we share the creative activity of God 
Himself and become His partners, but unfortunately, 
by reason of the artificial nature of civilization in 
which we do not need so strong an urge, there are 
vast quantities of sex energies left over. For most 
normal men and women this residue of sex energy 
is a problem to be dealt with by the personality, and, 
if its force does not find an outlet in the normal way, 
the energy must be sublimated into some other activ- 
ity satisfactory to the self and to the community. 
This is the first fact to face, that the origin of 
impure thought is the misdirected energy of a very 
beautiful instinct. 

The second fact to face quite frankly is that sex 
hunger or feeling is not in itself wrong. Many 
young people torture themselves because at certain 
times feelings of which they feel ashamed sweep 
over them. It cannot be too definitely said that it 
is not more sinful to have these feelings and acknowl- 
edge them than it is to be hungry for food. Sex 
hunger is not more wicked than hunger for food, 
unless you become morbid about it, and by gloating 
over it, and by turning it towards a perverted goal, 
you make it into sin. It is interesting to notice that 
when Jesus said, 'Every one that looketh on a woman 
to lust after her hath committed adultery with her 
already in his heart' (Matt. v. 28), He used the 
Greek word 'gunaika,' which often means 'married 
woman,' and many scholars think that by His words 


He was guarding the monogamous principle. Sec- 
ondly, the real meaning of the phrase is, 'Whoso 
looketh upon a woman with the intention to lust' — 
which is a very different thing from the mere stirring 
of physical feeling. This, then, is the second fact to 
be faced. Sex feeling by itself is not sin. 

The third fact to be faced is that no man or 
woman should imagine, if the main battle of his 
or her life is one against impure thoughts, that he or 
she is alone in this matter. It is the battle of thou- 
sands. Many people torture themselves with the 
thought that they must be very wicked or else such 
thoughts would never come to them. Personally I 
should consider them far more abnormal if they 
alleged that such thoughts never did come to them. 
The stronger the personality the stronger the 
instincts, and nearly every strong personality has to 
face the problem of sublimating sex energy, which 
derives from the most powerful instinct we possess. 

Having looked the facts in the face, let us very 
candidly diagnose what happens. When the mind 
is quiescent, possibly when one day-dreams in a 
chair, or lies in bed before sleeping or after waking, 
there is suddenly thrown on the screen of the mind 
some erotic or sensual picture culled from a conver- 
sation, a scene in a book, or on the stage, a happen- 
ing in a newspaper, a doubtful yarn somebody has 
told you, or a picture seen in a shop window. What 
happens then, unless we have become masters of our 
mind in the way I shall describe, is that we gloat 


lustfully over this mental situation, and in imagina- 
tion side with evil and even imagine ourselves carry- 
ing out some lustful act. The day-dream comes to 
an end, but real harm has been done. Not by sex 
feeling, but by our perverted use of it, in making 
from it the sex phantasy. In the first place, such 
phantasies lead to that particular secret mistake 
which is called self-abuse or masturbation, and which 
is the curse of thousands of our fellows, both men 
and women. But even if this be avoided, that type 
of phantasy has left us weakened in some future 
battle, especially if in real life we ever find ourselves 
in similar circumstances to those portrayed in the 
day-dream. For we shall tend to act in real life as 
we acted in the day-dream. As Emerson says, 'The 
thought is the ancestor of the deed.' We may also 
remember that we become like the thoughts we think. 
'As a man thinketh in his heart so is he.' And such 
phantasies oft repeated will make us sensualists. 
Further than this, we have made it very easy, by 
gloating over this mental picture, for other mental 
pictures to come on to the screen. We think we 
have escaped without evil consequences, but, as Wil- 
liam James, the great psychologist, says, 'Down 
among the nerve cells and fibres the molecules are 
counting it, registering it, storing it up to be used 
against us when the next temptation comes.' A very 
great philanthropist some time ago fell a victim to 
a certain sex temptation, and, to the utter amaze- 
ment of all his friends, was obliged to flee the coun- 


try. Every one was astonished that such a tempta- 
tion had any power with such a man, but when a 
friend went through his desk he found in a cupboard 
underneath it a number of lewd French magazines. 
This was the explanation of the fall. The resistance 
of the will had been broken down by gloating over 
phantasies in the mind. Sooner or later the secret 
thought, like a hidden growth, bursts through the 
soil and blossoms and bears fruit in a deed. By that 
fruit we are known. The situation must be dealt 
with at the beginning when the thought is welcomed 
into the mind for the first time, when the seed is first 
sown, before it blossoms into evil purpose or fruc- 
tifies into evil deed. Many a man after he has fallen 
will wonder how he, of all people, could do such 
a thing. He will sit in his minister's study and call 
himself hard names, and say, 'I can't understand 
how I ever came to do such a thing.' But the min- 
ister who is a true doctor of souls can understand. 
It is because he has not guarded the kingdom of his 
mind. Morale was undermined before the battle 
began. Treacherous ideas within the kingdom of 
the mind sided with the enemy and made for dis- 
aster from the onset of the battle. A mind divided 
against itself cannot stand. As the Latin tag says, 
'Cogitatio, imaginatio, delectatio, assentio.' The 
thought; the imagination acting upon the thought; 
the resultant attractive phantasy; then the fall. 
This is the whole history of sin. 

What is the cure of impure thoughts ? 


i. As soon as the thought presents itself to the 
mind, change your occupation immediately. It is no 
good staying where you are trying to think of some- 
thing else or trying to fight it with your will. If 
you are in bed at night, get up and do something, 
spartan though this may seem. Cut your finger-nails, 
brush your hair, write a letter, or read a book that 
really holds your attention. If you are in bed in 
the morning when the temptation assails you, get up 
and have a cold bath. It would be sufficient to break 
the curse of evil thoughts for thousands of men and 
women if they would carry out one maxim of five 
words, 'Get up when you wake.' If you are inactive 
in a chair when the thoughts come, get up and go 
for a walk. Do anything, so long as you change 
your occupation. This will draw the energy of the 
mind away from its tendency to make phantasies 
and to make you dwell on them. 

2. Change the unclean mental picture by substi- 
tuting for it at once a religious picture. A very 
great saint once told me that as soon as an unclean 
picture was thrown on to the screen of the mind he 
thought of the wound in Christ's side as He hung 
on the cross, and that so often had he substituted 
the holy picture for the lewd one, that now, almost 
as if God were sending him warning of the approach 
of evil ideas, he found the sacred picture coming 
first before the onset of evil, and he was thus pre- 
pared for it when it came. With all due respect, 
even this, I believe, can be improved on by thinking 
of some picture of the face of Jesus, say as He 


blesses little children. I think this would be more 
of a help to men than the other method. 

3. Break out at once into ejaculatory prayer. In 
other words, pray aloud, even if you only say, 'O 
Christ, help me,' and keep your eyes open. You 
will feel at such a moment leagues removed from 
prayer. You will not desire to pray. To pray will 
be the last thing you want to do, but when we can- 
not give God our hearts we can at least give Him 
our will, and by praying aloud, by the use of our 
will, we can bring about a change of heart, until 
there shall come to us, even at such a moment, the 
sense of that presence in which no evil thing can 
live. He for our sakes was made flesh, He knew 
and knows the hot temptations of youth, and He 
will understand us. 

4. Undertake a rigid discipline of the mind. For 
instance: (a) It is possible, by practice, though it 
may take months, so to order your last thoughts on 
going to sleep that you can determine your waking 
thoughts the next morning. Our fathers and mothers 
who taught us to pray when we went to bed were 
wiser psychologists than they realized. For if you 
give your mind a thought about Jesus last thing at 
night, that thought will go on working through the 
mind during the night, and will tend to be the first 
thought the following morning. 

(b) Let us always avoid things that we know will 
lead to impure thoughts. Don't be led away by the 
rubbish some people talk about art, and literature, 
and realism. Many will tell you that you ought to 


know life and face facts. Remember that a vermin- 
ous rat in a filthy sewer is a fact, but that is not a 
cogent reason for making it an item of a menu. To 
face facts is one thing. Morbidly to delight in men- 
tally devouring facts is another thing. This kind 
of fallacy has made some novels best sellers and at 
the same time taken very heavy toll of mental and 
even physical purity. There is the bad film, the low 
revue, the doubtful picture, the immodest dress, the 
risque dance, and the shop-window of certain medi- 
cal rubber companies. All these things are delib- 
erate appeals to the tiger within. They bring him 
rushing up with a roar against the bars of his cage, 
the bars of self-control, convention, law, and fear of 
consequences, and in hundreds of cases the bars give 
way and some kind of disaster follows. 'Hold off 
^from sensuality/ says Cicero, 'for if you have-igivefr 
yourself up to it you will find yourself unable to 
think of anything else.' Don't let your mind nose 
about amongst offal. As Tennyson says, 

Think well ! Do well will follow thought, 
And in the fatal sequence of this world 
An evil thought may soil thy children's blood ; 
But curb the beast would cast thee in the mire, 
And leave the hot swamp of voluptuousness, 
A cloud between the Nameless and thyself. 

If there are certain pictures, or statues, or novels, 
or plays which lead to sex excitement, cut them out 

(c) Let us remember the value of games, hob- 


bies, and outdoor sports. Football, cricket, tennis, 
hockey, wireless have saved the spiritual lives of 
countless boys and girls. Jeremy Taylor has a wise 
word for us here. In Holy Living (Chap. II., 
Sec. 2), he puts 'bodily labour' first among his 'rem- 
edies against unchastity,' but adds, 'if thou beest 
assaulted with an unclean spirit, trust not thyself 
alone; but run forth into company whose modesty 
may suppress, or whose society may divert thy 
thoughts: for this vice is like camphire and evapo- 
rates in the open air, being impatient of light and 
of witnesses.' 

(d) Let us fill our mind at every opportunity with 
big, pure, splendid, clean thoughts. The fuller the 
mind is of clean interests the less opportunity there 
is for any thought that is unclean. If there is such 
a thing as the expulsive power of a new affection, 
there is certainly such a thingfaTthe expulsive power 
of new thoughts. A man once went to visit a friend 
of his in a certain college, and found that in his 
room the man had pinned up on the wall all kinds 
of lewd pictures cut out of cheap magazines. He 
did something very much better than remonstrating 
with him — he sent him a most beautiful picture of 
Christ, and the man was faced with a dilemma. 
Either he must refuse to hang the picture of Jesus, / Q) 
or he must take the others down. He took the 
others down. And when the picture of Jesus hangs 
in the mind our less pure thought pictures will come 
down by themselves. If the above method fails the 



first time, try it again and again, refusing to be 
dismayed by failure. If it fails to the point of 
despair, confide your trouble to your minister or 
some adequate friend. 

In his letter to the Philippians, Paul has a beauti- 
ful sentence which literally runs, 'The^p^cejjfjCiod 
which ^passeth all understanding_stand._sejitry over 
your hearts and thoughts^in Christ Jesus. It is not 
IdinTculFto know why that word should occur to him, 
since, when he dictated the letter, one wrist was 
chained to a sentry and another sentry tramped up 
and down outside his door. The peace of God 
standing sentry over the mind. We cannot help 
what thoughts come to the threshold of the mind. 
They can get as far as the sentry. But we can help 
the wind of welcome they get after that. Don't 
let any thought into the mind which has to elude 
the sentry (the peace of God), drug him, drive him 
away, or murder him. No thought must come in 
which cannot honourably pass him. 

Prayed Augustine many years ago, 'Make me 
beautiful within,' and indeed that is the only kind of 
beauty that is worthy the name. And it is made by 
the thoughts we think. And there is only one King- 
dom worthy the name, and that is the Kingdom of 
Heaven, and it is the kingdom of men's minds, for 
the Kingdom of Heaven is within you. And there 
is only One worthy to be the King of that Kingdom, 
and He is Jesus, the fairest among ten thousand, 
the altogether lovely. 


Let the peace of God stand sentry over your 
mind, and whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever 
things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good 
report, keep on thinking on these things. 

> ., - 

• •* 'UJ y-^f f"-' *"?r^~*~ ■ 

- 1/ 



Fear is one of the instinctive emotions of man. It 
always has been inherent in his personality, and on 
this side of death, at any rate, will always be a char- 
acteristic reaction of it. For fear is a good thing, 
sown in our personality by the hand of God. Like 
other instinctive emotions, however, it has a bastard 
brother, funk, with which it is often confused. Funk 
is an evil thing, to be fought with all our powers. I 
say 'like other instinctive emotions,' for love may 
descend to lust, self-respect may descend to conceit, 
pity may descend to contempt, just as fear may 
descend to funk. 

Fear is not only a good but an essential thing. 
Fear is one of the assets which we have received 
from God through our animal ancestors. When a 
leopard first clawed the hind quarters of a wild horse 
in the primeval jungles, fear urged the horse to flee. 
But for fear it would have been devoured. The 
speed of the horse to-day is partly the result of 
fear, and the characteristic qualities of many ani- 
mals are derived from primitive fear. In his story 



White Fang, Jack London shows how the character 
of the wolf was moulded and fashioned by fear. 
First the fear of pain, and then the fear of power, 
until fear had done its work and was sublimated in 
reverence and love. 

Fear is a good thing in ourselves. I suppose 
thousands of years ago it served the purpose of help- 
ing us to defend ourselves by making us look horri- 
ble. Even now fear can raise the hair from our 
heads, make our eyes glare and bulge, and contort 
our faces, and all these signs point back to that far- 
off day when fear automatically helped us to defend 
ourselves by making us frightful to look at, and thus 
more able to overawe our opponent. Yet though 
these physical symptoms are little needed to-day, 
fear still makes us efficient. It makes us careful, and 
who will deny that it keeps us in right paths? Many 
a man is doing what is right to-day because he fears 
the consequences of doing wrong, and a good deal 
of what is called virtue is really carefulness inspired 
by fear. 

To make use of the fear of consequences is still 
amongst savage tribes one of the most potent ways 
of keeping a tribe within the bounds of morality 
and health. For instance, the medicine man knows 
that intermarriage with near relations is bad for the 
tribe. He knows that eating certain things at cer- 
tain seasons is bad for the tribe; that promiscuous 
sexual intercourse with the wives of other members 
of the tribe is bad for the tribe, and the only way 


in which morality and health can be safeguarded 
is by making an appeal to the fear of the gods, or, 
in other words, by creating taboos, which operate 
with disastrous results if any member of the tribe 
kicks over the traces. This is, of course, an appeal 
to fear. It is still operative to-day, though within 
narrower limits and in a different sense. For most 
civilized people the fear of punishment by the law 
is not operative because they have been so broken 
in that they are not tempted to transgress the law, 
but still the fear of failure, and above all the fear 
of ridicule, the fear of being hurt, the fear of being 
unpopular, and the fear of being poor all play their 
part in determining human action. 

We may say that this is not a high motive, and 
that is true, but fear is a schoolmaster * who keeps 
us in order until we graduate and pass beyond the 
need of its friendly restraints. George Eliot quotes 
an old writer who says, 'It is well that fear should 
sit as the guardian of the soul, else how should man 
learn to revere the right?' After that preparation 
we begin to do good just because it is good and not 
because we shall suffer for doing wrong. The fear 
of hell, perhaps mistaken, has been of service to 
many in the lower forms of the school of life. We 
need not deny that fear is the name of one of God's 
most useful servants, even though we realize that 
the name of the Master is Love. It was a very 

1 Cf. Gal. iii. 24: 'So that the law hath been our tutor 
(jtai8aYCOY6g=schoolraaster) to bring us unto Christ.' 


wise man who wrote 'the fear of the Lord is the 
beginning of wisdom.' 

Funk, however, is an evil thing. Funk is abnor- 
mal fear, and is as far removed from healthy fear 
as lust is removed from love. Funk has become 
common partly because the protections of civilized 
life have left us so little reason to fear in a normal, 
physical way that we have a large quantity of this 
instinctive emotion left over, and, putting it popu- 
larly, some of it goes bad and becomes funk. You 
can see the difference in a few simple illustrations. 
A signalman is working in his box. The fear of 
causing an accident makes him efficient. The removal 
of fear would be the removal of a great stimulus 
to efficiency. But funk makes him hectic, fussy, 
worried; he never pulls a lever without misgivings, 
and having pulled a lever has a torturing terror 
that it may not have been the right one. Or take 
the case of a chemist. The chemist has a normal 
fear of making a mistake in his drugs and thereby 
poisoning somebody. He therefore takes precau- 
tions, and thus fear makes for efficiency. But if 
he gets to a state in which he can never let a person 
go out of his shop with a prescription without a 
kind of terror that he may have poisoned him, then 
fear has become funk, and a thing that made for 
efficiency has, in a sense, gone underground, and 
has become a source of inefficiency. Fear makes a 
man in charge of a leper asylum careful. Funk 
would send him to England by the next boat. Think 


of an explorer in some strange jungle. Fear makes 
him choose the site for his tent with care, makes 
him light his fire to keep off wild beasts, makes him 
see that his rifle is loaded and ready, but the fear 
that inspires these actions does not prevent him from 
sleeping soundly all night. To be afraid, or to have 
terror, or, as I have called it, funk, will keep him 
awake all night. In the case of a surgeon, fear 
leads to skill. I would not trust myself on an 
operating-table to a surgeon who assured me that 
he didn't know what fear was. That is too cabbage- 
like a mentality for an intricate operation. But funk 
would make him blunder, and in the case of a sur- 
geon would render him useless. One would not trust 
oneself in a boat, or indeed in a motor, or in any place 
of risk with a man who said he didn't know what 
fear was. Confidence is not the attribute of the 
fearless, for there is not such a thing actually as a 
'fearless' human being, though for convenience we 
use the word. Confidence is the attribute of the man 
who knows fear, but who knows his power to meet 
the situation, and in whom fear never turns to funk. 
And it may be added that he who 'does not know 
what fear is' for that very reason doesn't know 
what courage is. The fear of the unknown is not 
literally so much fear of the unknown as fear of 
ourselves, lest we should not have sufficient resources 
to meet the unknown situation. 

Funk in some cases, if not dealt with, will lead to 
a condition which can only be called an illness of the 


soul. Such an illness we call a phobia, and we have 
all but exhausted the Greek language to find names 
for various manifestations of it. So we have panto- 
phobia, the fear of all things; agoraphobia, the fear 
of open spaces; acrophobia, the fear of heights; 
aichmophobia, the fear of sharp objects; claustro- 
phobia, the fear of closed spaces, or of being shut 
in; ereutophobia, the fear of blushing; monophobia, 
the fear of being alone; nyctophobia, the fear of the 
dark; pathophobia, the fear of disease; mysophobia, 
the fear of dirt. Some people develop a morbid fear 
of the unknown, or of being in a crowd, or of hav- 
ing committed an unpardonable sin, or of insanity, 
or of ridicule, or of disapproval, or of death. 

Dr. Hadfield distinguishes between fear, anxiety, 
and phobia. He says : 

'Natural fears are fears directed to objects really 
dangerous to life: anxieties are fears without an 
object and are usually due to fear of threatening 
impulses within. They are unrecognized fears of 
ourselves. Phobias are fears attached to objects not 
in themselves dangerous. They are projected fears 
of ourselves. The difference between a normal fear 
and an abnormal fear or phobia can easily be rec- 
ognized. The normal fear leads to a biological 
efficiency, whereas the abnormal fear leads to 
inefficiency.' * 

I mention these fears (which because they have 
become morbid I have called funk), because the way 

1 Psychology and Morals, p. 154. 


in which the psychologist deals with a phobia may 
suggest to us how we may face our own funk. Let 
me give two illustrations. During the war an officer 
was found standing in the trench and refusing on 
any account to take shelter in a dug-out. He found, 
to his amazement, that if he entered the dug-out, 
symptoms of terror broke out more violently than 
if he stood in the trench with shells breaking round 
him. He simply could not bear that confined, closed 
space. A cure was effected by tracing back in his 
childhood the origin of the fear. It was found that 
on one occasion when the officer was a little boy 
he made a visit to an old rag and bone merchant 
who lived near his parents' house. This old man 
was in the habit of giving boys a halfpenny when 
they took to him anything of value. The child had 
found something and had taken it alone to the house 
of the old man. He had been admitted through a 
dark, narrow passage, from which he entered the 
house by a turning about half-way along the passage. 
At the end of the passage was a brown spaniel. 
Having received his reward, the child came out 
alone, to find the door of exit to the street shut. 
He was too small to open the door, and the dog 
at the other end of the passage began to growl. 
The child was terrified. His state of terror came 
back to him vividly as the incident returned to his 
mind after the many years of oblivion. 1 Ever since 

1 Quoted from McDougall, Outline of Abnormal Psychology, 
p. 305, who quotes from a case of Dr. W. H. R. Rivers reported 
in The Lancet, August 18, 1917. 


then he had had a repressed terror of enclosed 
spaces. But when the origin of the phobia was dis- 
covered and unmasked it disappeared. 1 A simpler 
illustration is as follows. Miss Geraldine Coster, 
Principal of Wychwood School, Oxford, says that 
one of the unforgettable horrors of her babyhood 
'was a monster called a squidgeon.' It lived on a 
bookshelf in a very dark little room in her grand- 
mother's house, and was used by her elders as a 
means of getting a rise out of her. In a sense she 
knew that it was made of a large orange and some 
burnt matches, but she had not seen it made, nor was 
she ever allowed to go up close to it and examine it, 
hence she always felt that it might be alive, just as 
children feel that the white object in the dark corner 
which they know in the day time is a curtain, might 
be a ghost. It was not until she was allowed to 
examine the squidgeon that her terror of it vanished. 
She says, 'Because I was never able to look that 
creature full in the eye and satisfy myself that he 
was a hoax, he haunted me for many a long day.' 

All of us know that if we are lying in bed and the 
window curtain appears to be a ghost, the only thing 
to do is to get up, turn on the light, look at it, and 
realize that it is not a ghost, and has no power to 
harm us. This applies to those things which, from 
the shadowed depths of the mind, haunt us; things 
which may have happened in early youth. It is only 

1 The night terrors of children can often be very easily dis- 
sipated by tracing them to their origin and recalling the incident 
to consciousness. 


by turning on the light of present conscious reason 
and looking at them closely and realizing that they 
have no real power to harm us, that we can rob 
them for ever of their evil effect on our personality. 
I have recently seen this work out wonderfully in 
the case of two adults who were sexually ill-treated 
at the age of six. For over twenty years they car- 
ried about with them the haunting fear that what 
had happened made marriage impossible for them 
and that they were 'defiled' for life. Fear, at last, 
in the early thirties, brought about nervous break- 
downs in both cases, which bromide and belladonna 
could not touch. Sleeplessness, depression, twitch- 
ing and trembling, fits of weeping, dislike of meeting 
people, inability to face life or undertake its duties 
were only symptoms of a deep trouble sapping the 
vitality of the personaltiy. Both had what one 
might call 'defilement dreams.' Both took unusual 
delight in washing the hands and body, in clean 
clothes, clean bed-linen; typical symptoms of a sense 
of inward defilement. Both were encouraged not 
to forget but to remember; to recall to conscious- 
ness and face in the light of reason the happenings 
of so long ago. In both cases it was realized that 
what had happened was not a blameworthy act, that 
the conscience was free, and in one case a super- 
stition was exploded that what had happened made 
the victim unable even to contemplate marriage. 
Both were made to feel the renewing, cleansing 
power of the love of God. Both cases — which for 


many weeks had given serious concern to the medical 
advisers concerned — cleared up in a few days when 
the original incidents were thoroughly brought into 
the light of consciousness and the fears resulting 
from them rationally examined. 

I should like to relate another case of my own 
which illustrates the way in which a very real phobia 
of the dark was relieved. After a lecture I once 
gave on psychotherapy a lady and gentleman came 
and asked me if I could do anything for their daugh- 
ter of eighteen and a half, whom we will call Theo- 
dora. The parents related that Theodora was 
terrified of the dark. She could not sleep alone, 
and even when sleeping with her mother was terrified 
at the slightest disturbance that occurred while the 
bedroom was in darkness. If she were travelling 
by train and the train passed through a long tunnel 
Theodora became rigid with fear. She was quite 
unable to travel by the underground railway in Lon- 
don, and, though she was in every other way normal, 
and indeed a brilliant student, it seemed as though 
her career was doomed on account of this phobia. 
It was her parents' ambition and desire that she 
should proceed to Cambridge, but a course at that 
University was obviously impossible unless she could 
be delivered from this abnormal fear of the dark. 
Coupled with the fear of the dark was a fear of 
men, not men in a crowd or men to whom she was 
introduced, but a fear of men who seem to be 
'loitering,' as she expressed it. 


Having received permission from those concerned 
to relate this case, 1 I will do it in some detail because 
it is so typical of this type of trouble, and the way it 
may be treated. Patient psycho-analysis revealed 
the fact that though Theodora could remember with 
amazing clearness events that happened in her life 
from a very early age right up until the present 
time, there was one patch between the years of eight 
and nine when her memory failed her. At last, 
however, this amnesia was overcome, and it emerged 
that when Theodora was eight, while living with 
her parents abroad, she was deeply frightened by 'a 
horrid man.' This man apparently waited about 
for little girls, and then enticed them to his own 
house. He gave them sweets to get them to go with 
him, and probably his purpose was an immoral one. 
At any rate, Theodora's mother told her that she 
must on no account go out of the garden, and thus 
she became deeply frightened of this man. In our 
conversation she repeated again and again that he 
was 'horrid' and 'horrid looking.' Some months 
later Theodora with her parents was travelling by 
train, and, as is often the case abroad instead of 
carrying a restaurant coach the train pulled up at a 
station, giving the passengers an opportunity to have 
dinner at the refreshment room. Thinking their 
daughter was fast asleep, they darkened their com- 
partment and went to have their dinner. Unfortu- 

1 Thi9 account has been read and the psychological facts 
approved by both the patient and her mother. 


nately Theodora awakened to find 'the horrid man' 
standing on the platform opposite her compartment 
leering at her through the window. Her terror can 
be better imagined than described. When her par- 
ents returned to the compartment, for some reason 
or another she did not tell them of her scare. It 
may be that, eager to remain in her parents' thoughts 
as a brave little girl, she would not confess to having 
been afraid. Ever since then Theodora had been 
terrified of the dark, and, in a measure, afraid of 
loitering men. Even at the age of seventeen she 
would search her bedroom carefully lest any one 
should be concealed in it. She was not afraid of 
women, but always of men, and sometimes she was 
so frightened that she dare not even search the 
room. Her fears got worse and worse, until, so 
far from travelling by the underground railway, she 
dare not even go down the steps of it to meet a 
friend. Two days before I saw her first she wak- 
ened in the night thinking she heard a footstep, and 
her whole body was rigid with fear. She realized 
that the noise was made by a window-blind rattling, 
but the body still kept its rigidity, and she felt too 
terrified even to call out. When Theodora over- 
came the amnesia there was a violent abreaction, and 
she manifested again all the symptoms of fear. This 
recovery of the buried memory would probably, by 
itself, have constituted a cure, but as I had only a 
short time in which to treat her before having to 
leave for another engagement, a further treatment 


was applied to make sure of the cure. This con- 
sisted of getting the patient completely to relax all 
her muscles and lie at full length on a bed, and then 
in this suggestible state, while her mind was in an 
exceedingly receptive condition, strong positive ideas 
of confidence were introduced: for instance, that she 
would react to the dark as confidently as to the light 
and so on. Following this we prayed together, 
thanking God that all abnormal fear had been ban- 
ished. Use was made of part of the one hundred 
and thirty-ninth Psalm, 'Even the darkness hideth 
not from Thee, but the night shineth as the day: 
the darkness and the light are both alike to Thee.' 
It would be very misleading to suppose that this 
treatment is sufficient for all cases of buried fear. It 
is most unusual for a repressed fear to be so fruitful 
of evil and yet so easily brought to consciousness. 1 
Frequently a long analysis is necessary before this 
can be done, but I have been able to keep in touch 
with this patient rather more closely than I can with 
most, and it is a great joy to relate that ever since 
that unusually brief treatment she has been able to 
sleep alone, to walk by herself in the dark, and to 
be entirely unafraid concerning it. For a time she 
travelled daily on the underground railway in Lon- 
don, and, having passed the necessary examinations, 
has proceeded to one of the colleges of the Univer- 

1 At the same time, two case9 are given by McDougall (Outline 
of Abnormal Psychology, p. 306) in which phobias were cured 
simply through recollection of events in a conversation. 


sity of Cambridge. As three years have elapsed 
since the treatment, I think the word 'cure,' which 
one is always hesitant to use, may be applied to this 
case. When, in the early part of this year (1929), 
I had the privilege of lecturing one night after din- 
ner on psychotherapy to some members of the Uni- 
versity gathered at Trinity College, Cambridge, my 
former patient was a member of the audience, and 
I learnt with delight that she cycled five and six 
miles in the dark quite regularly and with perfect 
equanimity. As the patient is a splendid Christian 
and both clever and gifted, a career, which her 
parents feared would be all but closed down, has 
been opened up to the fuller purposes of God. 

All of us have fears which are in danger of becom- 
ing funk. We have them about quite ordinary 
things, such as sitting in a draught, getting our feet 
wet, or failing to digest our food. And the unfor- 
tunate part about fear is its magnetic attraction. 
If we nurse it we bring upon ourselves the very 
thing that we do fear. As Miss Coster has said 
in her excellent little book, Psycho-Analysis for 
Normal People: 

'To concentrate the mind on the digestion with a 
conviction that it will not function properly produces 
indigestion; and to dwell on the fear that one is 
being infected by the person with a streaming cold 
who is sitting next one in a railway carriage is an 
excellent way to catch the cold. These facts are 
recognized by most people nowadays, yet few make 


the useful generalization that to fear a thing is the 
worst way of avoiding it.' x 

From the point of view of the health of the soul, 
fears like these are not the most serious. There is 
not one of us who would not be a finer Christian if 
he could eliminate the morbid fear of what people 
will say. 2 We are afraid to accept new thoughts 
because they upset us, even though those new 
thoughts would mean that life took on a new mean- 
ing. We are afraid to do new things because they 
would upset others, though to do them would mean 
liberty for us, and the opening of freedom's door 
for others. We are afraid to follow Christ because 
it costs so much, even though we really know that 
it is the only way to our peace. We are afraid 
of punishment for past sins, even though the accept- 
ance of forgiveness could change that punishment 
from being a dreaded nemesis to a helpful disci- 
pline. How much could be accomplished if people 
were not afraid of being thought fools, not afraid 
of being hurt, not afraid of being unpopular, not 
afraid of being poor, not afraid of public opinion, 
not afraid of truth, not afraid of sacrifice. And 
beyond these are the terrors that we need help in 
fighting. As Mr. H. G. Wells says in Men like 
Gods, 'As night goes round the earth, always there 
are hundreds of thousands of people, who should be 

1 Page 72. 

2 Incidentally a lot of people could be cured of their ailments if 
they were not afraid of trying psychological methods involving 
the ridicule of those who would think them pious or superstitious. 


sleeping, lying awake, fearing a bully, fearing a 
cruel competition, dreading lest they cannot make 
good, ill of some illness they cannot comprehend, 
distressed by some irrational quarrel, maddened by 
some thwarted instinct or some suppressed and per- 
verted desire.* /f # tuiul 
Some people tell us to pjitjhejfej£jo^^s_oxihat w4*4W&Wy 
out of the mind. Their intention is good, but their 
words are dangerous. If they mean us to turn away 
from the fear, and pretend that it does not exist; / 
to go on as if it were not there, then their advice / . / 
is disastrous. Jt may le ad to ^he_fejr_beingf \ US 
repressed, in which case its poison will spread V 
through the^rhoral system and find its vent in some V«** 
kind of lowered efficiency if not in some kind of / 
nervous breakdown, the very cause of which is that 
the patient has succeeded only too well in 'putting 
it out of his mind.' Others say to a patient, 'Your 
fears are groundless, imaginary. They do not exist.' 
But to the patient they are only too real, and it is 
no help at all to him to be told that they are non- 
existent. Rather than say 'dismiss it from your 
mind,' I would say, 'set it in the centre of your 
mind.' Look it full in the face, examine it, spread 
it out. If possible trace it to its origins. In this 
way it cannot become funk. Funk is a kind of black- 
mail, and it is better to face the tyrant than to have 
lifelong misery living at his mercy. To refuse to 
face a fear which is rapidly becoming funk is to be 
in exactly the same position as the blackmailer's 



victim. You will never be really free until you face 
your funk, and a reluctance to face it will mean just 
what it means in blackmail, that you pay, and pay, 
and pay, until you have nothing more to pay with. 
And remember that the coin with which you pay is 
nervous energy. Nor am I playing the role of 
scaremonger when I suggest that the man who does 
not face up to his fears is treading a road the end 
of which may be insanity. One recalls Tennyson's 
lines : 

He faced the spectres of the mind 
And laid them; thus he came at length 
To find a stronger faith his own. 

Secondly, having faced the situation, let us realize 
our power to meet it in Christ, on whose lips were 
so often the words, 'Be not afraid.' His presence 
brings a sense of 'otherness,' which means two to 
fight our fears instead of one. 'I can do all things 
in Him that strengtheneth me.' Let us take a look 
at the situation in which Christ found Himself. 
Priests were swayed from their position because they 
were afraid that if He were right they would have 
no position left. Pharisees were swayed from their 
position because they were afraid of the people. 
The people were swayed from their former loyalty 
because they were afraid of their own leaders, and 
terror is the most infectious thing in the world. 
Pilate was swayed from his duty because he was 
afraid of Caesar, and the disciples were swayed 


from their loyalty to the Master because they were 
afraid of being made to look fools. Now Jesus 
knew what fear was. He experienced that instinc- 
tive emotion that we call fear. No one can read 
the story of Gethsemane without realizing that Jesus 
was facing naked fear. Blood does not exude 
through the pores and fall like sweat upon the 
ground unless a man is in the throes of that instinc- 
tive emotion called fear. St. Mark, translated by 
Dr. Moffatt, uses the words, 'He began to feel 
appalled and agitated, and said to them, "My heart 
is sad, sad even to death." ' And Dr. Weymouth 
translates as follows, 'Then He took with Him 
Peter, James, and John, and began to be full of 
terror and distress.' But His fear never became 
funk or He would have run away and escaped. If 
it were easy for the disciples to escape even after 
the Roman soldiers had arrested Jesus, it would 
have been easy for Jesus to have escaped as He saw 
the lights of their torches coming toward Him 
through the trees. Though possessed by fear, He 
was never afraid. No, not even at the end. This 
was typical of Jesus all through His life. He was 
completely man, and therefore the instinctive emo- 
tions which possess us were known to Him. He did 
things deliberately that He must have known it was 
death to do. That is why He could prophesy the 
Cross quite early as a certain end of His life. What 
is sometimes harder, He believed things it was death 
to believe. Some men who won the M.C. and even 


the V.C. in the war returned to office, mill, univer- 
sity, factory, and found it harder to be a Christian 
in this modern world than to face German bullets. 
To stand by your own convictions when those con- 
victions make you unpopular, when you are called 
goody-goody or pious or funny or eccentric requires 
the very highest type of courage. Jesus was not 
a man of the steel heart in Nietzsche's sense. He 
felt as no one else has ever felt, yet He dared as 
no one else has ever dared. For, though He knew 
fear, He was never afraid. He was the one man 
whom no power of hell could master because noth- 
ing ever made His afraid. 

And He is our Master, not our pattern only, but 
our friend. He stands at our elbow now. His 
brave eyes hold ours steady. His strong grasp grips 
our trembling hands. Let us go out into the future 
made efficient by fear, but never brought low by 
funk. Let us go out into the future bravely with 
Him, for still His quiet voice rings with an assur- 
ance which gives us utter confidence. He bends over 
all the tossing unrest of our disquieted heart and 
speaks the words which He spoke to those disciples 
whose hearts were more troubled than the waters 
of their Galilean lake, 'Peace, be still.' 



It would seem as though throughout the whole of 
Nature there throbs a power urging the organism to 
self-realization. Way down in vegetable life we may 
see its dim foreshadowings. In India we used to 
watch with interest a certain creeper which one could 
plant in the ground and the tendrils would grow 
along the surface. If one placed a stake in the 
ground the creeper would make for it, and if one 
altered the position of the stake, the creeper would 
alter its direction towards it. Similarly, if one cuts 
off the leading shoot of a larch sapling, the next 
highest branch will alter its direction from horizon- 
tal to vertical, and will put on such tissues, and 
assume such a position, as to take the place of the 
branch removed. It seems as though there is an 
urge even at this low level of life to completion 
and realization. 

When we go to animal life this fact is even more 
marked from the level of the amoeba upwards. The 
romance of the swallow, as McDougall has shown, 
shows this same urge more wonderfully still. She 
takes up her abode under the eaves of a village 



church, meets her mate, builds her nest, lays her eggs, 
and sits on them until the young are hatched. Then 
with tireless activity she feeds them until they gain 
independence. The power of this inward urge then 
drives her southwards night after night, over miles 
of land and sea to her winter home in sunnier climes. 
When the spring comes round again that same 
impelling, mysterious force calls her back to the very 
same place, to complete, in another round of activity, 
the laws of her being. If outward circumstances 
try to interfere with the drift of this inward urge, 
her efforts to obey it are redoubled. If her nest 
is destroyed she will build another. Rob her of her 
eggs, and she will lay others. Attack her young, 
and she will fight with all her energy. Imprison her, 
and when the mysterious voices call her to Africa, 
she will beat against the bars of her cage until she 
escapes or is exhausted. Rob her of her mate, and 
she will pine and possibly die. We cannot say that 
she foresees the goal of her activity, but none can 
doubt that there is an urge driving her towards self- 

When we come to man, the urge is more com- 
pelling still, and sweeps, as Dr. Hadfield has shown, 
through every part of his nature. Physically, if we 
cut our arm, at once every part of the physical 
organism seeks to restore the injury and make once 
more for physical harmony and completion. The 
nervous system telegraphs, by pain, a message that 
something is wrong, the heart drives blood to the 


wound to wash it clean, the glands dispatch white 
corpuscles to the spot to fight and expel, in the 
form of pus, the injurious microbes; new tissues 
are created until physical completion is brought 

Psychologically every one of our instincts demands 
some kind of expression in which to realize its pur- 
pose. If any instinct is repressed it will make its 
power felt in unpleasant ways, such as dreams, nerv- 
ous disorders, or morbid curiosities, fantasies, and 
perhaps activities; and he who mishandles his psy- 
chology will have at heart a sense of incompleteness, 
as real as the pain of a wound, telling him quite 
clearly that something is wrong. 

Spiritually, we find universally a craving for God. 
This craving may express itself when as Augustine 
cries out, 'Thou hast made us for Thyself, and our 
hearts are restless till they find rest in Thee,' or 
when some poor Indian pariah bows before his idol. 
Both yearnings are symptoms of the same thing — 
the urge of man to self-completion and self-realiza- 
tion — an urge which we may regard throughout the 
whole creation as the activity of the spirit of God. 

It seems sometimes strange that just where the 
urge is most important, man's definite personal 
co-operation is most necessary before completion can 
be realized. For example, physical forces are auto- 
matically set in operation which tend to heal our 
wounds, however foolishly we neglect them. And 
the automatic action is well backed up by our rec- 


ognition of the fact revealed in the saying that it 
is unwise 'to go against nature.' To do this, even 
to the simple-minded, is asking for trouble. Psycho- 
logically we are more and more beginning to realize 
that this primal urge must be respected. The new 
psychology has, at least, revealed the dangers of 
repression and the values of sublimation. Even here 
we cannot thwart nature, without paying the penalty 
in an impaired nervous system. But in religion we 
go against nature so glibly, hardly realizing that the 
urge, so manifest in regard to body and mind, is 
clamouring for completion more urgently still in 
regard to the soul. We pay a closer loyalty to the 
urge when we call it nature than to the same urge 
when, on the highest plane of all, we call it God. 
Indeed, where a man will at once respond on the 
levels of body or mind to that sense of disharmony 
which awakens him to his own danger, and respond 
in his own interest, yet when the soul is sick, and 
when, because of that sickness, life loses all dignity, 
beauty, and meaning, he seems so slow to respond, so 
reluctant to understand that his whole nature is 
crying out for God. 

Why is it that we are so slow to recognize our 
fundamental need of God? If we are physically 
tired we yield to the urge to rest. We say that we 
must give nature a chance with our bodies. When 
the herd instinct calls us to seek the society of our 
fellows we yield to it. We know what is the matter 
with us — we want society, friendship, fellowship. It 
seems so much harder to diagnose the unrest of the 


soul. If a man's body is out of harmony with its 
environment we call him ill; if a man's mind is out 
of harmony with its environment we call him neu- 
rotic, or insane; but if a man's soul is out of harmony 
with its environment — or, in other words, God — we 
do not think of him as abnormal. He flies to the 
doctor, and in these days to the psycho-analyst. But 
thousands of people who do not know what is the 
matter with them yet find the poise and harmony 
that they need in a return to God, for whom every 
soul is hungry, and without whom they can never 
have self-realization and the fullness of life. The 
words of Jesus still echo down the ages and call 
to those whose soul is sick, with a more serious 
illness than body or mind can ever contract, 'Ye 
will not come to Me that ye might have life.' 

That voice calls to us in many ways, and to all of 
us in some way, and that to which it calls is always 
the realization of our true happiness. It will call 
to one through beauty. Wordsworth says: 

I have felt 
A presence that disturbs me with the joy 
Of elevated thoughts: 

Or with the same poet it will come as a call voiced 
in the needs of man. He will hear 

the still sad music of humanity, 

and because he hears that music, the need of the 
world will become the challenge of God to him. To 
another it will come almost fiercely, as he flees 


through night and day, optimism and despair, argu- 
ment and denial, with the Hound of Heaven on his 

To others it will come, not as it comes to the 
poets. There are people of scientific and mathemat- 
ical mind to whom the voice will call through the 
orderliness of the universe, through the laws of logic, 
through the exactness and dependableness of calcu- 
lation. To others it will come in God's house; 
through ceremonial that makes its appeal through 
ear and eye, with the help of lights and stained glass, 
the deep tones of organ music, or the frozen music 
of Gothic arches. To another, in a simpler build- 
ing, God will pour His radiance through a moment 
of silence, a moment never to be forgotten and 
changing the whole of life. 

To others it will come in more homely ways. 
Through the human love of one, loved better than 
life, with whom a man stands at God's altar. To 
another it will come not in the heyday of love's holi- 
day, but in the hour of sorrow, when an angel we 
call Death bears a little life back to the breast of 
God. To others it will come in more homely ways 
still, in the work of the home, in ministering to little 
children, in all the quiet ways of love, which make 
life's wheels go so smoothly for some of us, without 
jar or noise, fuss or rush — and let some women 
comfort themselves that this also may be the wor- 
ship of the Most High God, and the fulfilment of 
the laws of being. 


In a thousand ways — sunsets and stars, sorrow 
and sunshine, duties and delights, details and des- 
tinies, pains and pleasures; through the things we 
do, and the things we see, and the people we touch 
— God is trying to break through, and not only 
call us to Himself, but call us to ourselves, that 
we may find life and harmony, completion and 

But let us never forget that our very restlessness 
is due to the urge of His power within us trying to 
sweep us into harmony with His will in a new trust 
and a new repose which spell completion and reali- 
zation. So that we may say that our very longing 
for Him, and all the voices which call us back to 
the big, noble, true things of life, are voices of His 
spirit within us urging us to Him, that we may 
become like that One Soul which found rest in the 
bosom of the Father, not only 'before all worlds,' 
but in this world and in our circumstance, and our 
condition of life; that One Soul that knew itself 
complete, that knew the joy of a complete self- 
realization because He was in harmony with God. 
It was not that He was granted special facilities 
which we miscall divinity. It was that He realized 
the divinity potential in every man and possible for 
every man, when at long last man realizes that he 
can only be satisfied by a communion with God so 
thorough that it gathers up all the highest tendencies 
of personality, to which goal, through all the ages 
since the first speck of protoplasm dwelt in the 


waters that covered the earth, God's spirit has been 
driving it. 

George Herbert has a beautiful poem called 'The 
Gifts of God,' in which he imagines God pouring 
out, with unsparing generosity, His gifts of beauty 
and wisdom, honour and pleasure, into the heart 
of newly made man, and then, for the moment, hold- 
ing back His gift of rest in the fear that, if He 
gave all, man might adore the gifts instead of Him- 
self, the Giver. So with fine insight the poet makes 
God say, 

Let him keep them with repining restlessness: 
Let him be rich and weary, that at least 
If goodness lead him not, yet weariness 
May toss him to My breast. 

There is a hunger that will not be put off for ever 
— a yearning that will not for ever be silent, a lust 
for reality that cannot be tamed by convention, a 
quest that cannot for ever be led astray, a deep 
desire that will not always be content with husks. 
It is in us all, as a great restlessness refusing to be 
deceived, refusing to be doped, refusing to be sup- 
pressed. It is the urge of the soul to completion. 
It is the quest of the soul for God. 



A note may be added here, perhaps, on the relation of auto- 
suggestion to organic disease. I hand a telegram to a woman 
who at once opens and reads it and then falls into a faint, 
though heart and lungs are sound. Evidently an idea received 
into the mind has had an organic effect. On recovering she 
maintains consciousness, but dissolves into tears. Evidently the 
idea has made the lachrymal glands to function. I cruelly sug- 
gest to her that the situation may be even worse than she 
thinks, and perspiration breaks out on the forehead so that 
the same idea has evidently caused the sweat glands under the 
skin to function. There have been no physical stimuli to pro- 
duce these physical symptoms, yet the latter are manifested for 
all to see. The most striking example in my experience of the 
speedy physical effect of mental suggestion was the recovery of 
the milk of a nursing mother after physical means had failed 
to bring it back. It was most important that this should be 
done, and so psychology was brought to the aid of medicine. 
While the patient was in a quiescent but fully conscious con- 
dition the breasts were gently stroked and the suggestion made, 
'Your milk is returning in abundance.' Under the very fingers 
the breasts filled and the milk ran from the nipples. This was 
repeated when there was the slightest sign of the milk failing, 
and after a half a dozen treatments the flow was permanently 
restored, and the mother fed the child for the whole period of 

It seems at first sight absurd to say that suggestion can cure 
an organic trouble, and personally I abstain from advising it, 
regarding such a trouble as the province of those who have 
studied the human body and know its anatomy and physiology, 
but it is indubitable that suggestion would hasten the cure even 



of a broken leg if it induced contentment of mind and expecta- 
tion of cure in the patient, and it is noteworthy that Coue 
would not recognize a limitation of his method to psychogenic 
disease. His book, Self Mastery through Conscious Auto-Sug- 
gestion, contains many instances of the cure of alleged physio- 
genie diseases (e.g. the cure of a club foot, p. 47). 'I con- 
fess,' says Principal Cairns, in his recent and important book, 
The Faith that Rebels/ x 'that unless one possesses a comfort- 
able a priori theory which enables one satisfactorily to decide 
as to what is or what is not true beforehand, it is extremely 
difficult to escape from the conclusion that diseases usually 
called organic sometimes yield to (psychological) methods as 
certainly as many that are called functional.' 

'Mental therapeutics,' says Dr. Alfred Schofield, of Harley 
Street, 'are not efficacious in nervous diseases only,' and he 
proceeds to give cases to illustrate his claim. Baudouin would 
seem to take the same view. 'We have to note,' he says, 'that 
there is no radical difference between the action of suggestion 
when its results are purely functional and its action when its 
results are organic. If we admit that suggestion can act in the 
former cases (and this has long been admitted), there need be 
no difficulty about acknowledging the reality of its action in the 
latter cases. For certain persons of pseudo-scientific mind, 
persons who regard as "incomprehensible" everything which 
disturbs their habits of thought, the organic effects of sugges- 
tion are "inadmissible" until they have seen these effects experi- 
mentally verified — and even thereafter. Such persons are 
extremely illogical. They admit that suggestion acts on the 
circulation, on the secretions, and in a localized fashion upon 
various parts of the body, doing this through the intermediation 
of the vasomotor nerves. Now, let us suppose that the vaso- 
motor mechanism stimulates or restricts the circulation through 
the capillaries supplying some particular group of cells, and 
that this action is persistent. Thereupon the cells of this group 
will, as the case may be, enjoy an excess of nourishment, or 
will be insufficiently supplied. They will prosper like parasites 
or they will atrophy. The suggestive action which manifests 
itself in the case of tumours, local malformations, &c, can be 

1 Page 159. 


very simply explained on these lines, without having recourse 
to any laws other than those with which we are already 
familiar.' x 

If in a case of consumption, a patient is suggestible so that 
insomnia can be relieved, appetite restored, and coughing less- 
ened, then, though it is true that only symptoms have been 
relieved, if a patient sleeps for eight hours, has an appetite, 
and is less exhausted by coughing, the suggester is certainly 
doing a great deal to help the physician. 

It may be that ideas implanted in a suggestible mind, or 
presented to a personality strong in faith, will lead even to the 
building up of cellular tissue in an organ diseased through 
physical causes. 'Sober thought may yet revert to Luther's 
saying, that if we have faith enough to be healed, there is no 
disease from which we may not recover,' and 'the dictum of 
the British Medical Journal that there is no tissue of the 
human body wholly removed from the influence of spirit is at 
least a significant step in this direction.' 2 But when surgery 
and medicine are so amazingly adequate, as they are at present, 
to deal with most physiogenic diseases, and when, on the other 
hand, the quality we call 'suggestibility' is so uncertain and the 
factors operating in phychological treatment are so little known, 
it seems to the writer than in physiogenic disease suggestion 
should only be used as an auxiliary treatment. In other words, 
in the present state of knowledge for physical troubles, physical 
methods are the safest, quickest, and most efficient. But this 
may not always be so when the nature of the immaterial and 
the interplay between physical and spiritual are understood. 
Jesus may have been so far in advance of us, not through His 
knowledge but through His faith in the powers at our disposal, 
that He could unleash spiritual energies that could powerfully 
attack and heal physical disease. 

1 Cf. also McDougall, Body and Mind, pp. 351, 374-5. 
3 Cairns, The Faith that Rebels, p. 78. 


Aristotle, 29 
Atkins, F. A., quoted, 155 
Augustine, quoted, 184, 207 
Auto-suggestion, 57 ff. 
Auto-suggestion, objections to, 
77 ff. 


Bacon, Francis, quoted, 89 

Baudouin, 60, 105, 128 

Beers, C. W., 83 

Bernheim, 119 

Brooks, C. Harry, 62 

Brooks, quoted, 73 

Brown, Professor William, 119, 

Browning, Robert, quoted, 145 
Brownlow, Bishop, 27 
Bunyan, quoted, 97 
Burnett, Rae, quoted, 4 
Burns, quoted, 90 
Butler, Josephine, 168 f. 
Byron, quoted, 89 

Claustrophobia, 191, 192 
Completeness, 205 ff. 
Confession, n f., 78 ff. 
Coster, Geraldine, quoted, 99, 

193, 199 
Coue, 59, 60, 65, 68, 214 


Darwin, quoted, 113 
Davy, Sir H., 59 
Death in dreams, 37 
Desire in dreams, 33 f. 
Disease and the will of God, 4 
Dreams, 29 ff. 

Dreams, method of interpreta- 
tion, 51, 52 
Duncan, Professor, 113 
Dureaud, Dr., 58 

Eddy, Mrs., and Christian 

Science, 18 f. 
Eliot, George, quoted, 188 
Emerson, quoted, 178 
Evolution, 139 

Cairns, 5, 16 p 

Cairns, quoted, 214, 215 

Charles, Ernest, quoted, 73 Farmer, H. H., quoted, 102 f. 

Children and Instinct, 161 Fatigue, 137 ff. 

Choice, 107 Fear, 186 ff. 

Christian Science, xiv., 2, 17 ff., Fear and anxiety in drerms, 44 

26 Fear of dark, 195 

Cicero, quoted, 182 Forgetting, 109 




Forgiveness, its place in cures, 

2, 10, II, 81 

Freud, Professor, xii., 29, 31, 36, 

53, 108 
Freud, Professor, quoted, 21 f. 

Galen, quoted, 7 
Gillet, 59 

Glover, Dr. T. R., quoted, 116 
God's will with regard to dis- 
ease, 3 ff. 
Goethe, quoted, 90 

Jesus and fear, 203 f. 

Job, quoted, 55 

Jones, Dr. Ernest, 106, 113 

Jones, Dr. Ernest, quoted, 125, 

Joseph, dream of, 41, 42 
Jung, 53, 104, no 

Keble, quoted, 90 
Kreft-Ebing, 127 


Hadfield, Dr., 3, 24, 50, 141, 

148, 206 
Hadfield, Dr., quoted 23, 100, 

172, 191 
Hall, R. F., quoted, 14 
Harnack, 6 

Harris, Muriel, quoted, 95 
Herbert, George, quoted, 212 
Hetero-suggestion, 58 
Hickson, faith-healing methods, 

Hingley, Rev. R. H., 38 
Hypnosis, 67, 118 ff. 
Hypnosis and dreams, 131 
Hyslop, Dr., quoted, 157 


Impure thoughts, 175 ff. 
Inferiority, 12 f., 46, 47 
Instincts, 158 ff. 
Irritability, 137 ff. 


James William, quoted, 95, 178 
Jesus' attitude to disease, 5 
Jesus' cures, 15, 215 

127 ff. 

Lloyd-Tuckey, 119 
Lloyd-Tuckey, quoted, 126 
London, Jack, 187 
Luther, 215 


J. G., 

Mackenzie, Professor 

quoted, 22 
Maudsley, quoted, 135 
Mauri, 31, 32 
McDougall, 84, 115, 119, 192, 

198, 205, 215 
McKenzie, quoted, 25 
Meier, 31 

Micklem, E. R, 16 
Ministers practising psychology, 

xii., 20 ff. 
Miracles, New Testament, 15 f. 
Moffatt, Dr., 203 
Morton, Dr. G. F., 165 
Mosso, 138 
Motives, 99 ff. 


Newman, Cardinal, quoted, 90 
Nicoll, Dr. Maurice, 44, 46 



Orchard, Dr., 116 
Organic disease and suggestion, 
213 ff. 

Perversion, Sexual, 167 
Pfister, Oskar, 22 
Phobias, 191 ff. 
Pilate, Pontius, 202 
Poetry and Confession, 89 ff. 
Prayer and efficiency, 151 ff. 
Psycho-analysis, 14, 75, 98, 103 
Psychogenic and physiogenic dis- 
ease, 8 
Pym, T. W., quoted, 14 

Slips of tongue and pen, 114 

Spencer, quoted, 89 

Stanley Jones, Dr., quoted, 153 

Stekel, Dr., 114 

Streeter, Canon, 42 

Sublimation, 158 ff. 

Suggestibility, 64 

Suggestions and organic disease, 

213 ff. 
Symbolism in dreams, 39, 48 

Tansley, 52 

Taylor, Jeremy, quoted, 183 
Tennyson, quoted, 89, 182, 202 
Tiredness, 137 ff. 

St. Francis of Assisi, 156 f. 

St. James, quoted, 82 

St. Paul, 169 

St. Paul, quoted, 66, 74, isof., 

184, 188 
St. Peter, dream of, 39 ff. 
Schofield, Dr. A. T, 59 
Schofield, Dr., quoted, 214 
Scott, Capt., 34 
Sense impressions influencing 

dreams, 31 
Sex, cases in which it plays a 

part, 78, 83, 101 
Sex perversion, 167 
Sex shock, 194 
Sex sublimation, 166 ff., 171 
Shakespeare, quoted, 27, 89, 92 


Walpole, Hugh, 84 
Wells, H. G., quoted, 200 
Wesley, John, quoted, 26 f. 
Weymouth, Dr., 203 
Will and feeling, 149 
Will and hypnosis, 133 
Will in auto-suggestion, 67 
Wilson Carmichael, Amy, 168 
Wilson, Dorothy, quoted, 147 
Word association tests, 56, 103, 

Wordsworth, quoted, 89, 209 
Worry revealed in dreams, 42 

Yellowlees, 119 

04*~{JLs*<f ^-^u^u^/uo 

^jh ^--pOvvifJjL, 

t^° *th C?<